UCLA Men's Soccer Falls in National Finals
Dec. 3, 2006
ST. LOUIS (AP) -Nick Perera had a goal and an assist and unseeded UC-Santa Barbara beat UCLA 2-1 Sunday to win the program's first national title and second championship in school history.
Perera banged the Gauchos' first shot off the left post and into the UCLA goal to make it 1-0 less than 3 minutes into the game. Tyler Rosenlund carried the ball deep into the box before passing it back to an unmarked Perera, who had plenty of time to settle it and take the shot.
The Gauchos (17-7-1) took a 2-0 lead in the second half. Perera collected a pass in the UCLA box from Bryan Byrne and flicked the ball to an open Eric Avila, who slid it into the bottom left corner of the goal.
The eighth-seeded Bruins (14-6-4) tried to rally in the final 15 minutes. Jason Leopoldo took the ball deep into the Gauchos' box before slipping it through traffic to cut it to 2-1 with 11:04 left.
Less than 2 minutes after the goal, UC-Santa Barbara goalie Kyle Reynish had to dive to his right to tip aside a low shot from Mike Zaher.
The UC-Santa Barbara victory came less than a day after it played 110 scoreless minutes in its semifinal victory over Wake Forest. The Gauchos, who won 4-3 in penalty kicks to advance to the title game, showed no signs of fatigue against UCLA.
UC-Santa Barbara took eight shots in the first half and UCLA, which rested many of its starters at the end of its 4-0 semifinal victory against Virginia, attempted only three in the first 45 minutes.
The two Southern California teams played four days after the first winter storm hit the St. Louis area bringing with it heavy snow, ice and freezing temperatures and forcing the postponement of the semifinals.