UCLA Faces Virginia In NCAA Men's College Cup Semifinals
Nov. 29, 2006
#8 UCLA vs. #4 Virginia -- The eighth-seeded UCLA men's soccer team (13-5-4, ranked No. 14 in the Soccer America poll and No. 22 in the NSCAA poll) will face fourth-seeded Virginia (17-3-1, ranked No. 6 by Soccer America and No. 3 by the NSCAA) in the College Cup semifinals on Friday, Dec. 1 in St. Louis, Mo at Robert R. Hermann Stadium. The UCLA-Virginia game is the first semifinal of the night and will kick off at 5 pm for a live telecast on ESPN2.
This is UCLA's 12th appearance in the NCAA College Cup. UCLA's other semifinal appearances came in 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1984, 1985, 1990, 1994, 1997, 1999 and 2002. The Bruins are 7-4 all-time in the semifinals and 4-3 in championship games, with four straight finals victories (1985, 1990, 1997 and 2002). UCLA's all-time record in the NCAA Tournament is 58-30.
Live Coverage -- ESPN2 will carry the UCLA-Virginia game live at 5:00 pm CT, as well as Sunday's championship match at 2:00 pm CT. The UC Santa Barbara-Wake Forest game will be televised on a delayed basis on ESPNU at 11:00 pm CT. Gametracker live stats will also be provided. The link can be found at UCLABruins.com.
UCLA Men And Women In College Cup -- The Bruin men's and women's soccer teams are both competing in their respective College Cups this weekend. UCLA is the first school to have both programs in the College Cup since North Carolina qualified both teams in 2001. That year, the UNC men won the tournament, while the women lost in the final, marking the first and only time a school has had both soccer teams in the championship games. This is the 11th time in NCAA history that a school has pulled off the College Cup double. The other schools to accomplish this were Connecticut in 1982 and 1983; North Carolina in 1987 and 2001; Santa Clara in 1989, 1998, 1999; Virginia in 1991; Duke in 1992; and Portland in 1995.
First To 100? -- UCLA is just two wins away from capturing the 100th NCAA title in school history. The women's team will have the first crack at No. 100, as the women's championship is scheduled for 12:30 pm ET. The men's championship match begins at 3:00 pm ET. UCLA has won two titles on the same day just one other time - in 1971 when the men's tennis and men's track and field teams won their titles.
Bruins Reach Tournament For 24th Straight Year -- UCLA's selection into the NCAA Tournament is its 24th consecutive and 34th overall. UCLA's NCAA streak is the second-longest active streak in the nation, and the 34 NCAA appearances are second only to Saint Louis' 43.
UCLA Posts 40th Consecutive Winning Record -- With another winning season in the books, the Bruins have increased their NCAA record for consecutive winning seasons to 40. UCLA has posted winning seasons in every season since 1967. The Bruins have 14 more years of winning seasons from 1953-1966, but soccer was not an NCAA sport at UCLA at the time.
The College Cup Field -- Joining UCLA and Virginia in the College Cup are unseeded UC Santa Barbara (16-7-0) and No. 2 seed Wake Forest (18-3-3). UCLA and Virginia are the only two teams in College Cup with past NCAA Championships. The Bruins won their four titles in 1985, 1990, 1997 and 2002. Virginia won their five titles in 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994. This is UC Santa Barbara's second College Cup appearance. The Gauchos reached the championship game in 2004. Wake Forest will be making its first-ever College Cup appearance.
How They Got Here -- As the eighth seed, UCLA received a first round bye and then posted identical 3-0 wins over Harvard in the second round and ninth-seeded Clemson in the third round before going on the road to face top-seeded Duke. The Bruins faced an early 2-0 deficit after the Blue Devils scored just 25 seconds into the match and again in the 20th minute. But UCLA chipped away at the lead, with Jason Leopoldo netting a goal just before halftime and Sal Zizzo scoring the game-tying goal in the 78th minute and game-winner just 30 seconds into overtime to lead the comeback win.
ACC West? -- Friday's game will mark the fifth this season and third consecutive against an ACC opponent. The Bruins swung through ACC land the first weekend of September, playing at Maryland (L 4-1) and Virginia (L 1-0) and have taken down two consecutive ACC foes in the NCAA Tournament, defeating Clemson, 3-0, and Duke, 3-2 in overtime. UCLA has the potential to face a fourth consecutive ACC opponent if the Bruins beat Virginia and Wake Forest beats UC Santa Barbara in the other semifinal.
UCLA vs. Tournament Field -- The Bruins played an astounding 15 games out of 22 against NCAA Tournament teams, posting a record of 9-5-1. UCLA has victories over New Mexico (2-0 on Sept. 8), Santa Clara (2-1 on Sept. 15), San Francisco (2-0 on Sept. 17), Washington (2-1 in double overtime on Sept. 29), UC Santa Barbara (3-1 on Oct. 5), San Diego State (2-1 on Oct. 8), Harvard (3-0 in the NCAA 2nd Round on Nov. 15), Clemson (3-0 in the NCAA 3rd Round on Nov. 19) and Duke (3-2 in overtime in the NCAA Quarterfinals on Nov. 26), as well as a tie against San Diego State (1-1 on Nov. 3). All of UCLA's losses this season have come to NCAA Tournament teams, including four against Top 16 seeds (No. 4 Virginia, No. 5 Maryland, No. 13 California twice).
In The Rankings -- UCLA ranks No. 14 in the Soccer America poll, No. 22 in the NSCAA and College Soccer News polls and No. 15 in the Soccer Times poll. Virginia is ranked No. 6 by Soccer America, No. 3 by the NSCAA and No. 4 by Soccer Times and College Soccer News. Wake Forest is ranked as high as No. 3 (Soccer America), and UC Santa Barbara is ranked 17th by Soccer America.
Scouting the Cavaliers -- Virginia is led by forwards Yannick Reyering (12g, 8a) and Adam Cristman (10g, 5a). Reyering has six game-winning goals on the year, including the game-winner against the Bruins in September with less than two minutes remaining in regulation. Goalkeeper Ryan Burke has posted eight shutouts on the year and holds a goals against average of 0.82.
Prior Matchups -- UCLA leads the all-time series with Virginia, 5-2-1. The two teams met early in the 2006 season, on Sept. 4, with Virginia winning 1-0 at home on a Yannick Reyering goal in the last two minutes of regulation. The Bruins have defeated the Cavaliers twice in NCAA Tournament action - 2-0 in 1997 in the NCAA championship game in Richmond, Va. and 2-0 in the 1999 quarterfinals at Virginia.
Common Opponents -- UCLA and Virginia have four common opponents this season - Harvard (UCLA 3-0 home win, Duke 2-1 road win), Maryland (UCLA 4-1 road loss, Duke 1-0 road loss and 1-0 home win), Virginia (UCLA 1-0 road loss, Duke 2-1 home win) and Clemson (UCLA 3-0 home win, Duke 1-0 road loss).
Comfort Goes Up Against Alma Mater -- UCLA assistant coach David Comfort will look to guide his new team against his former team. The Virginia alumnus is in his first season as a Bruin assistant coach. Comfort played for Cavalier head coach George Gelnovatch from 1999-2002 and still ranks in the Top 5 in Virginia history with 193 career saves and 19 solo shutouts. His career goals against average of 0.98 ranks seventh all-time, and he ranks in the Top 3 amongst all Virginia goalkeepers in minutes played with 5,442. He earned honorable mention All-America honors and second-team All-State acclaim in 2001 after posting nine shutouts with a 14-2-1 record. Comfort was an all-state, all-region and all-district honoree at Monacan HS in Richmond, VA.