No. 10 Bruins Travel To No. 17 Creighton

Sept. 4, 2007

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This Week -- The UCLA men's soccer team (0-2-0, ranked No. 10 by Soccer America and No. 11 by the NSCAA) will face its third-straight Top 20 opponent on the road to start the season when they head to Omaha, NE for a Saturday, Sept. 8 game at 17th-ranked Creighton (1-0-1, ranked No. 17 by Soccer America and No. 25 by the NSCAA). The game will take place at Creighton's Morrison Stadium at 7 pm Central Time and will be webcast live online at mvc.org as the MVC TV match of the week. Live stats will also be provided at Creighton's website, gocreighton.com.

In The Rankings -- In the first rankings of the regular season, the Bruins check in at No. 10 in the Soccer America and Top Drawer Soccer polls and No. 11 in the NSCAA/adidas coaches' poll and the College Soccer News poll.

Scouting The Bluejays -- Creighton went 1-0-1 in their annual Diadora Challenge this past weekend, tying San Diego State, 2-2, in the opener and defeating Wisconsin-Green Bay, 3-0, in the second game. Junior transfer Andrei Gotsmanov, who was a Freshman All-American at St. John's in 2004, scored two goals in the latter game. Last season, Creighton went 13-5-3 and captured both the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament titles before advancing to its 15th-straight NCAA Tournament. Senior goalkeeper Matt Allen and junior forward Byron Dacy have been named to the preseason watch list for the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy.

UCLA's History With Creighton -- UCLA holds a 1-2-0 all-time record against Creighton, with the lone Bruin win coming in 1991 at the Fresno State Classic, 6-0. Creighton's two wins have come in 1998 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament (2-0 in Los Angeles) and in 2004 at the UNLV Invitational (3-2). This will be UCLA's first visit to Omaha.

Bruins Drop Two At Indiana Classic -- UCLA dropped a pair of one-goal decisions to Top 10 ranked teams at the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic, losing 2-1 in overtime to ninth-ranked Notre Dame and 1-0 to seventh-ranked Indiana. The Bruins did well to send the Notre Dame game to overtime. With 38 seconds remaining in regulation, Mike Zaher found Chance Myers for the tying goal, but just three minutes into overtime, Notre Dame scored the golden goal. Myers nearly pulled off another late tying goal against Indiana, but his header hit the crossbar in the final six minutes of the contest. Myers and defender Brad Rusin were selected to the All-Tournament team.

Firsts For McAthy, Hollingshead, Suits -- Freshman Kyle McAthy and junior Scott Hollingshead made their collegiate debuts this weekend at the IU Classic. McAthy got the starting nod in the opener against Notre Dame and came in off the bench against Indiana. Hollingshead, who was a team manager and practice player a year ago, was a first-half substitute against Notre Dame and played 15 minutes. Sophomore defender/midfielder Danny Suits got his first career start against Indiana and played 74 solid minutes.

Shades of 2006 -- The pattern is similar - like last season, the Bruins were swept in their first road trip and have another tough road game to come. Last year, UCLA lost to Top 3 opponents from Maryland and Virginia. This year, it was a pair of losses to Top 10 teams from Notre Dame and Indiana. In 2006, the Bruins followed the Maryland/Virginia trip with a challenging road match at New Mexico in front of over 3,000 fans and came away victorious, 2-0. In 2007, after facing Notre Dame and Indiana, the Bruins will travel to Creighton, where the average attendance at last weekend's tournament was 3,098. The 2006 Bruins did not let their slow start ruin their season ... they ended the year as national finalists.

Injury Updates -- The pre-season injury bug hit the Bruins again this year, although to a much lesser degree than last year. David Estrada underwent foot surgery on Aug. 20 for a fractured metatarsal that will put him out for up to two more weeks. Freshman Fernando De Alba suffered a dislocated knee that same day and will also be out up to two weeks. Sean Alvarado and Edwige Ligonde are also recovering from pre-season surgeries. Alvarado (knee) is expected to be out another two weeks, while Ligonde (leg fractures) is expected to be out 4-6 weeks.

Zaher, Estrada, Perk Named To Pre-Season All-America Teams -- Three Bruins have been selected to various pre-season All-America teams. Senior defender Mike Zaher was named a third-team pre-season All-American by College Soccer News. Last season, Zaher was a first-team All-Pac-10 and third-team NSCAA All-Far West selection. Sophomore forward David Estrada earned pre-season acclaim from MLS Magazine a year after being named Soccer America's Freshman of the Year and scoring 12 goals and 28 points. Sophomore goalkeeper Brian Perk received pre-season honors from Soccer America despite making just seven starts last year. Perk showed tremendous promise in his limited action, going 3-1-3 and making nine saves in the win at UC Santa Barbara. He had an emergency start in the Round of 16 at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup and made seven saves to help the U.S. defeat Uruguay and advance to the quarterfinals.

About The Bruins -- UCLA enters the 2007 season with the purpose of improving upon last year's showing. While improving upon a performance that brought the Bruins all the way to the NCAA title game might seem like a heady task, the Bruins have a deep and talented squad that features 22 returning players, including 17 with starting experience. Leading the charge are the team's top two goalscorers from last year - sophomore forward David Estrada (12g, 4a) and junior midfielder Jason Leopoldo (8g, 5a). Also back to kick-start the offense is junior forward Maxwell Griffin, who was leading UCLA in scoring with five goals before going down in the eighth game of the year with a knee injury. UCLA's midfield looks strong once again with the return of Leopoldo, second-leading assist man Kyle Nakazawa (4g, 8a), U.S. Under-20 National Team starter Tony Beltran and 2006 UCLA Rookie of the Year Michael Stephens (2g, 3a).>{?Defensively, three of the four starters from 2006 return, including All-Far West and first-team All-Pac-10 honoree Mike Zaher, Pan Am Games team captain Greg Folk, and two-time All-Pac-10 selection Brad Rusin. In addition, the Bruins return the services of veterans Brandon Owens and Edwige Ligonde, who both missed the 2006 season due to injury, and Pan Am Games starter Chance Myers. There is no drop-off in goal despite the loss of three-year starter Eric Reed. Taking over between the pipes is U.S. Under-20 National Team goalkeeper Brian Perk, who lost just one game in seven starts last season as a 17-year old freshman. In addition, UCLA adds six newcomers, including freshmen Kyle McAthy, Fernando De Alba and Brian Rowe and junior transfer Tomer Konowiecki from American University.

Bruins Go International In Off-Season -- Several members of the UCLA squad spent their summer representing the U.S. in international tournaments. Junior midfielder Tony Beltran and sophomore goalkeeper Brian Perk, along with former Bruin Sal Zizzo, helped lead the U.S. to the quarterfinals of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Canada and posted big wins over Brazil, Poland and Uruguay. Beltran had the game-tying assist in the 6-1 win over Poland, and Perk came up big with seven saves in the 2-1 overtime win over Uruguay in the round of 16. In addition, senior defender Greg Folk, sophomore defender Chance Myers and sophomore midfielder Michael Stephens played for the U.S. at the Pan American Games in Brazil. Folk was the team captain, and Myers and Stephens started in all three games for the U.S. Earlier this month, Perk and Stephens traveled to Japan with the U.S. Under-18 National Team for the SBS Cup.

UCLA Selected No. 1 In Pac-10 Pre-Season Poll -- For the sixth consecutive season, UCLA has been picked to win the Pac-10 men's soccer title by the league's coaches. Defending Pac-10 champion California finished in a second-place tie with the Washington Huskies in the poll, three points behind UCLA. Rounding out the poll are Stanford, San Diego State and Oregon State.

Looking Ahead -- UCLA will play its first home game of the season on Friday, Sept. 14 against Ohio State at 7 pm. The game will be preceded by a matchup between Penn State and Cal State Fullerton at 5 pm. On Sunday, Sept. 16, the opponents switch up, with Ohio State and Cal State Fullerton playing at 11:30 am and UCLA and Penn State playing at 2 pm. All four games will be played at Frank W. Marshall Field at Drake Stadium.

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