Men's Soccer Team Earns First Victory, Defeating No. 12 Ohio State, 3-1
Sept. 14, 2007
Los Angeles, CA - The 10th-ranked UCLA men's soccer team recorded its first victory of the season, defeating 12th-ranked Ohio State, 3-1, on Friday night in the Bruins' home opener at Frank W. Marshall Field at Drake Stadium. Maxwell Griffin, Michael Stephens and Jason Leopoldo each scored for UCLA.
The Bruins went on the attack early in the game and initially seemed to be finding the same bit of bad luck that afflicted them at Creighton last week when four shots went off the woodwork. In the eighth minute, Jason Leopoldo fired a rocket that hit the crossbar. But less than two minutes later, the Bruins' luck changed. At 8:58, after nifty passing from Stephens and Kyle Nakazawa, Griffin took a shot from the left side to the far post that beat Ohio State goalkeeper Casey Latchem for Griffin's first goal since being sidelined with an ACL injury just under a year ago. UCLA made it 2-0 at 19:34 when Stephens successfully converted a penalty kick after an Ohio State player was called for a handball in the box.
Ohio State threatened to score early in the second half, with Xavier Balc bending a free kick in the box in the 47th minute and setting a new Ohio State record for career shots with 192, but UCLA goalkeeper Brian Perk was there to secure the save. UCLA added a third goal at 51:32 when Leopoldo notched his first goal of the season, heading in a Nakazawa corner kick. The Buckeyes got their only goal at 61:26 when the Bruins' Danny Suits accidentally deflected a scorching free kick from Balc into the back of the net while trying to clear the ball. Ohio State got off five more shots after that, but Perk saved two, while the others went off-target or were blocked. Perk finished with six saves, while Latchem had just one.
UCLA improves its record to 1-2-1, while Ohio State, which was the third-consecutive Top 20 team the Bruins faced, suffered its first loss of the year, falling to 3-1-1.
In the earlier match-up at Drake Stadium, Penn State defeated Cal State Fullerton, 2-0, with second-half goals coming from Vincent Salvatico at 46:57 and by Jacobo Vera at 79:59.
All four teams are in action again on Sunday, Sept. 16. Cal State Fullerton faces Ohio State at 11:30 am, while UCLA hosts Penn State at 2 pm.