No. 4 UCLA Hosts No. 11 San Diego In Men's Soccer Home Opener

Sept. 9, 2002

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This Week - The UCLA men's soccer team (3-0-0, ranked fourth by the NSCAA and third by Soccer America ) will play its first home game of the 2002 season and its first game away from Fullerton's Titan Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 15, hosting the University of San Diego (4-0-0, ranked No. 11 by the NSCAA and No. 9 by Soccer America) on Frank W. Marshall Field at Drake Stadium at 1:00 pm.

Scouting The Opponent - The Toreros' offense has produced in big numbers so far in 2002, defeating Stony Brook, 5-0, and Cal State Fullerton, 4-0. Senior forward Ryan Coiner recorded his fourth career hat trick in the Fullerton game and leads the team with five goals. Eric Wunderle ranks second on the team with seven points (3g, 1a).

The Series - UCLA leads the all-time series against San Diego, 14-4-2, and won the last contest, 4-0 on the road in the second round of the 2001 NCAA playoffs. Forward Matt Taylor scored the Bruins' first two goals in the last game, and Ryan Futagaki and Tim Pierce added a goal apiece, while goalkeeper Zach Wells earned the shutout.

UCLA Ends Fullerton Jinx - The Bruins ended a four-game, six-year road losing streak against Cal State Fullerton with a 3-1 win over the Titans on Sept. 6 at Titan Stadium. Ryan Futagaki and Matt Taylor scored first-half goals to lead the Bruins to victory. Given head coach Tom Fitzgerald's track record at Titan Stadium, however, the win should come as no surprise. Fitzgerald's teams are now 6-0 at Titan Stadium - his University of Tampa team went 2-0 there in 1995, his Columbus Crew team defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy there at the 1999 U.S. Open Cup, and UCLA won all three of its 2002 games at Titan Stadium.

In The Rankings - The Bruins moved up three spots to No. 4 in the NSCAA rankings and No. 3 in the Soccer America rankings. SoccerTimes.com and College Soccer News both have UCLA ranked No. 2 behind Pac-10 rival Stanford. The NSCAA rank of fourth is UCLA's highest since being ranked No. 1 on Oct. 2, 2000.

Game Times Changed - The game times for the Oct. 18 Stanford contest and the Nov. 14 San Francisco game have been changed to 7:00 pm. Both games will be held at Drake Stadium.

2002 Season Outlook - UCLA begins the 2002 season under first-year head coach Tom Fitzgerald. The group of returning players should make it a smooth transition for Fitzgerald, who is inheriting eight returning starters, including U.S. Under-23 National Team defender and Soccer America Pre-Season All-American Scot Thompson , 2001 UCLA Team MVP Zach Wells (0.85 GAA, nine shutouts in 2002), NSCAA All-Far West selection Tim Pierce (10 g, 2a) and first-team All-Pac-10 performers Adolfo Gregorio (2g, 4a) and Ryan Futagaki (3g, 3a). UCLA returns 97% of its goal scoring from last year's team that advanced to the NCAA third round.

Head Coach Tom Fitzgerald - Armed with 24 years of coaching experience at the high school, collegiate, professional and national team levels, head coach Tom Fitzgerald begins his first season at the helm of the UCLA men's soccer program. Fitzgerald coached Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew from 1996-2001 and led his team to three consecutive Eastern Conference finals from 1997-99. Prior to joining the pro ranks, Fitzgerald was head coach at the University of Tampa from 1987-96. He guided his team to the 1994 NCAA Division II National Championship and to NCAA Final Four appearances two other times. His teams received NCAA post-season tournament berths all nine seasons.

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