Nakazawa Bender Gives UCLA 1-0 Win Over New Mexico In NCAA First Round
Nov. 24, 2007
Los Angeles, Calif. - UCLA sophomore midfielder Kyle Nakazawa bent in a free kick for a goal with 1:39 remaining in regulation to give the Bruins a 1-0 victory over New Mexico in NCAA first round action at UCLA's Marshall Field at Drake Stadium. Nakazawa's goal was his third of the season and first off a free kick.
The Bruins had the run of play for most of the first half and had two shots saved by New Mexico goalkeeper Mike Graczyk in the first 10 minutes. In the 16th minute, Mike Zaher sent a cross in the box that was mishandled by Graczyk, but Tony Beltran's shot on the far right was off-target. A minute later, Chance Myers stole a pass from a Lobo player and executed a nice give-and-go with Nakazawa but sent his shot just high. New Mexico's Justin Davis also had a shot miss high in the 32nd minute on a 1-v-1 opportunity, and with two minutes left in the half, P.J. Wilson took a shot after a free kick that went high and wide.
With zeroes on the scoreboard after the first half, both teams worked hard in the second half to mount an offensive attack. After a corner kick in the 49th minute, New Mexico's David Gualdarama had a shot that just sailed high. Myers remained dangerous for UCLA, sending in a cross that just missed David Estrada in the 60th minute. In the 69th minute, Wilson dribbled through the UCLA defense but could not get past Bruin defender Brad Rusin, who pressured Wilson into a shot that hit the side netting. A minute later, Myers again sent in another cross on the right side but could not connect with Nakazawa in the box. At 71:41, the Lobos mounted their best scoring opportunity when Diego Barrera unleashed a point blank shot in the box. But UCLA goalkeeper Brian Perk made a diving save to keep the game scoreless. Perk made another solid play a minute later, scooping up the ball in the box just as Lobo forward Chris Wright was making a run.
With time winding down on the clock, opportunity came knocking for UCLA. With 2:22 remaining, Nakazawa was fouled about two yards outside the top of the box. The Bruins' free kick specialist took the free kick and bent it in for the game-winner.
'It was an unbelievable way to finish the game,' Nakazawa said. 'When I first lined it up, I didn't see an angle, but then I found a little hole and thought I could bend it in. I couldn't have hit it any better. It was one of the greatest feelings I have had in my college career.'
After the goal, the Lobos pressured to equalize, and with 38 seconds left on the clock sent the ball into the box, where Perk leaped up to grab it but was sent flying by a challenging Lobo player. Perk took a hard tumble and had to leave the game for precautionary reasons, sending redshirt freshman Trevor Hunter in for his first career appearance. Hunter was not tested in the final seconds, and the Bruins notched their 60th all-time NCAA victory.
'We're obviously ecstatic to win tonight,' said UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo. 'We had the game in control for long periods of time, and the chances that they got were from mistakes we made. Overall, it was a good performance. Sometimes in soccer, the best team doesn't always win, but I felt we were the best team tonight.'
UCLA (9-8-3) moves on to the second round, where it will face Santa Clara on Wednesday, Nov. 28. The game will take place at Santa Clara's Buck Shaw Stadium at 7 pm. The two teams met earlier in the season on Sept. 22, and the Broncos won 2-1 in overtime, scoring both goals while the Bruins were down a man.
'It would be great to get revenge on Santa Clara,' Salcedo said. 'Santa Clara has been a very successful team this year, and in the game we played up there earlier in the year, we played well enough to win. They don't play the most attractive soccer, but they're effective, and our team will be ready for the battle.'
New Mexico ends its season with a 12-5-2 record.