No. 1 Seed UCLA Begins Defense Of NCAA Championship

Nov. 24, 2003

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This Week - The No. 1 seed and top-ranked UCLA men's soccer team (18-1-1) will begin its quest to defend its NCAA Championship on Wednesday, Nov. 26 with a second round matchup against Tulsa (13-5-2). The game will take place at UCLA's Drake Stadium at 7 pm. Tickets are $7 for adults/$5 for youth/students. Wednesday's game will showcase two of the top forward tandems in the nation - UCLA's Matt Taylor (13g, 7a) and Chad Barrett (9g, 8a) and Tulsa's Ryan Pore (19g, 9a) and Kyle Brown (11g, 11a).

Bruins Seeded No. 1 - As the top-ranked team in the nation and the national leader in winning percentage (0.925), UCLA earned the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and received a first-round bye. It is the first time that the Bruins have been seeded No. 1 since the NCAA began seeding teams in 1994.

Internet Broadcast - UCLA will broadcast Wednesday's game live on the internet at www.uclabruins.com. Craig Dunkin and former Bruin star Tayt Ianni will call the action.

Potential Matchups - The winner of Wednesday's game will move on to play the winner of the Cal State Northridge/Florida International second round game. If UCLA wins its second round game, the game will take place at Drake Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 30 at 1:00 pm. Ticket prices for that game are $8 for adults and $6 for youth/students.

Bruins Reach Tournament For 21st Straight Year - UCLA's selection to the NCAA Tournament is the 21st consecutive and 31st overall for the Bruins. UCLA's NCAA streak is the second-longest active streak in the nation, and the 31 NCAA appearances are second only to Saint Louis' 42. UCLA has won national championships in 1985, 1990, 1997 and 2002. The Bruins' all-time NCAA record is 52-27.

UCLA vs. Tournament Field - The Bruins hold a 10-1-1 record versus the tournament field in 2003. UCLA's 10 victories came against No. 10 seed Washington (twice), No. 13 seed Loyola Marymount, Oregon State (twice), California (twice), Portland, Virginia and Rutgers. The Bruins also have a tie against No. 14 seed San Diego. UCLA's lone loss this year came against second-seeded Maryland on Sept. 5.

A Look At The Golden Hurricane - Tulsa won its first round match, 3-2 in double overtime over Oakland. Ryan Pore scored two goals in regulation, and Kris Glasser scored the game-winner in the 103rd minute. Pore and Kyle Brown are one of the nation's most potent forward combos. Pore leads the team with 19 goals and 47 points in 20 games, while Brown has totaled 11 goals and 11 assists for 33 points. Pore ranks first in the nation in goals per game and second in points per game. UCLA and Tulsa have only met once, back in 1993 at the SMU Classic. The Bruins won the contest, 6-0.

Quoting the Coach - Comments from head coach Tom Fitzgerald: 'It feels great to be the number one team in the country and to get the number one seed. We are obviously honored to be number one, and we're looking forward to defending the NCAA title, which is very difficult to do.'

The Golden State Shows Its Strength - The state of California placed eight teams in the 48-team NCAA Tournament and houses five of the 16 seeded teams - No. 1 UCLA, No. 11 UC Santa Barbara, No. 13 Loyola Marymount, No. 14 San Diego and No. 16 Cal State Northridge. The other California teams in the tournament are Santa Clara, California and San Jose State. Given California's successful teams, it's only appropriate that its top team, UCLA, has 27 of 28 players who hail from the Golden State. UCLA's only import is freshman Chad Barrett from Beaverton, Oregon.

Bruins Capture Second Straight Pac-10 Title - UCLA breezed through Pac-10 Conference play, recording the first perfect conference mark in the Pac-10's history. The Bruins clinched their second consecutive Pac-10 Conference title after a 5-0 victory over second-place Oregon State on Nov. 9.

UCLA Posts 37th Consecutive Winning Record - With another winning season in the books, the Bruins have tied the NCAA record for consecutive winning seasons, held by Saint Louis (37 consecutive from 1959-1996). UCLA has posted 37 straight from 1967-present. The Bruins actually have 14 more years of winning seasons from 1953-1966, but soccer was not an NCAA sport at UCLA at the time.

Wells On His Way To The Record Books - Senior goalkeeper Zach Wells is on pace to break UCLA's school record for single-season goals against average. Wells currently has compiled a 0.39 GAA with just seven goals allowed and 10 solo shutouts in 1627 minutes of action. All-American Anton Nistl set the school mark in 1989 and 1986 with a GAA of 0.53 and recorded a school-record 16 shutouts in 1989. Wells has moved into second on UCLA's career saves list with 259 and is just two saves away from catching all-time leader Nistl, who totaled 261 saves from 1986-89. Wells also moved into fifth on the career shutouts list with 26 and has now tied Chris Snitko for third place on the career victories list with 47. With his career goals against average now at 0.68, Wells is currently tied for third with Kevin Hartman on the UCLA career list. Friedel holds the school record with 0.60. If Wells' goals against average holds up at 0.39, it will be the 10th-lowest in NCAA history (NCAA record is 0.26, held by John Putna of Indiana in 1978).

More Shutouts For the Defense - The Bruin defense, labeled by College Soccer News as one of the Top 5 in the nation, earned its 15th shutout of the season in the regular season finale with a 1-0 victory over Fresno State. UCLA has allowed just eight goals this year for a team goals against average of 0.40 and has shut 14 of the last 16 opponents. The Bruins' current mark would rank sixth in NCAA history (NCAA record is 0.24 set by the 1990 Evansville team).

Bruins Sweep Pac-10 Awards - Pac-10 champions UCLA swept the conference awards and placed nine players on the all-conference team, as senior forward Matt Taylor earned Player of the Year honors, forward Chad Barrett shared Co-Freshman of the Year acclaim, and Tom Fitzgerald was chosen the Coach of the Year. Taylor becomes UCLA's first conference player of the year since Sasha Victorine in 1999. Barrett is the Bruins' first Freshman of the Year since Alex Yi in 2000, and Fitzgerald becomes UCLA's first conference coach of the year since 1997. In addition to Taylor, Adolfo Gregorio (for the third consecutive year), Leonard Griffin, Brandon Owens and Zach Wells were named to the All-Pac-10 first team. Barrett, Aaron Lopez and Ty Maurin were selected to the second team, and Dru Hoshimiya earned honorable mention acclaim.

Gregorio, Lopez Chosen As M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Candidates - Senior midfielder Adolfo Gregorio and junior defensive midfielder Aaron Lopez are among 15 candidates for the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy. Gregorio is a two-time first-team All-Pac-10 selection and a Soccer America pre-season All-American who ranks amongst the nation's leaders in assists per game with 10 assists in 19 games. Lopez's defensive efforts have enabled UCLA to rank amongst the stingiest backlines of all-time, recording a team goals against average of 0.40. Lopez was UCLA's Team MVP in 2002 and the Offensive MVP of the 2002 College Cup after scoring the game-winning goal with 1:02 remaining in the title match.

Wells, Hoshimiya Earn Academic Honors - Seniors Zach Wells and Dru Hoshimiya have proven themselves to be winners on and off the pitch. The duo was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District VIII and the Pac-10 All-Academic first teams. In addition, Wells was announced this week as a second team Academic All-American, becoming only the second Bruin soccer player ever to earn this honor. Wells has compiled a cumulative GPA of 3.22 in American Literature & Culture, while Hoshimiya has a 3.46 GPA in Sociology. On the field, they have been key components to UCLA's second-ranked defense. Wells has allowed only seven goals in 1627 minutes. Hoshimiya, who moved from central midfielder to sweeper after an injury to team captain Tony Lawson, has been outstanding in the back, as UCLA has allowed only five goals since the switch. Matt Taylor and Dru Hoshimiya also earned honorable mention Pac-10 All-Academic acclaim.

A Barrett Balanced Attack - Freshman forward Chad Barrett, the Pac-10 Co-Freshman of the Year, has not only scored the goals for UCLA, but set up the goals as well. Barrett has scored nine goals and recorded eight assists for a total of 26 points, the most by a Bruin freshman since Joe-Max Moore had 32 in 1990. The Beaverton, Ore. native ranks second on the team in all three scoring categories.

High-Powered Offense - UCLA has scored 49 goals this season to rank first in the Pac-10 in scoring offense. In their last 10 games alone, the Bruins have scored 26 goals. Leading the charge is senior Matt Taylor, who ranks amongst the nation's leaders with 13 goals in 19 games played. Freshman Chad Barrett has scored nine goals with eight assists, and senior Adolfo Gregorio has provided a team-high 10 assists to go along with four goals. Junior midfielder Mike Enfield has established career-high numbers with three goals and seven assists for 13 points.

Deep Bench - One of the biggest reasons why UCLA has been so hard to stop this year is the depth of its roster. A total of 20 players have started at least one game this season, including 14 who have started at least six games. Only two players - goalkeeper Zach Wells and defender Leonard Griffin - have started in all 20 games. Although Matt Taylor and Chad Barrett have 22 goals between them, UCLA's offensive attack has been more than just two-pronged. A total of 14 different players have scored, and 10 have scored two goals or more.

National Team Duty Pulls Harvey During Post-Season - Sophomore defender Jordan Harvey will miss most of the post-season while playing for the U.S. Under-20 National Team at the World Youth Championships in the United Arab Emirates. The Championships, which were postponed in the Spring due to the war in the Middle East, run from Nov. 27-Dec. 19. Harvey has come on strong as of late, scoring two goals in the last three games. He is tied for third on the team with four goals and ranks fifth in scoring with 10 points.

Head Coach Tom Fitzgerald - 2003 Pac-10 Coach of the Year and 2002 NSCAA National Coach of the Year Tom Fitzgerald has established lofty standards for himself at UCLA, becoming the first NCAA Division I coach to win an undisputed national championship in his first year with the program in 2002. He also became just the third coach to win NCAA titles in both Division I and Division II. Fitzgerald coached the University of Tampa to the NCAA Division II title in 1994 and was the head coach for Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew from 1996-2001.

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