UCLA Seeks Second Chance At Santa Clara In NCAA Second Round
Nov. 26, 2007
This Week -- UCLA (9-8-3, Pac-10 runner-up) travels to No. 7 seed Santa Clara (15-1-4, WCC champions) on Wednesday, Nov. 28 for NCAA second round action. The game will take place at Buck Shaw Stadium at 7 pm. SantaClaraBroncos.com will provide Gametracker live stats and a fee-based audio broadcast.
West Coast Powers To Meet - Wednesday's game will match up two of the most successful programs on the West Coast. The Bruins have been to the College Cup 11 times, with four NCAA titles (1985, 1990, 1997, 2002). The Broncos have made five College Cup appearances, with a co-championship in 1989.
Bruins Reach NCAA Tournament For 25th Straight Year -- UCLA's at-large selection into the NCAA Tournament is its 25th consecutive and 35th overall. UCLA's NCAA streak is the second-longest active streak in the nation, and the 35 NCAA appearances are second only to Saint Louis' 44. UCLA has won national championships in 1985, 1990, 1997 and 2002. The Bruins' all-time NCAA record is 60-31, and 20-10 in second round games.
Last season, UCLA advanced all the way to the NCAA Championship game before falling 2-1 to UC Santa Barbara. To get to the Championship game, the eighth-seeded Bruins defeated Harvard, 3-0, in the second round before plowing through three ACC teams in succession - Clemson 3-0, Duke 3-2 in overtime and Virginia 4-0.
UCLA vs. Tournament Field - The Bruins have played 10 games against NCAA Tournament teams this season, with a 3-1 victory over No. 5 seed Ohio State, a 0-0 tie against No. 8 seed Creighton and one-goal losses away from home to No. 4 Indiana, No. 7 seed Santa Clara in overtime and No. 10 seed Notre Dame in overtime. UCLA also has victories over Pac-10 champion California, at-large selection Washington and a win over New Mexico in the first round.
Scouting The Broncos -- Santa Clara has been unbeatable for most of this season, recording a 15-1-4 overall record and No. 3 national ranking. The Broncos are carrying a 17-game unbeaten streak into the playoffs and have not lost a game since dropping a 2-1 decision at Brown on Sept. 7.
The Broncos are led by WCC Player of the Year Peter Lowry, who has totaled eight goals, six assists and 22 points. Freshman goalkeeper Kevin Klasila ranks second in the nation with a 0.47 goals against average, and Santa Clara's defense ranks 11th nationally with a 0.62 GAA.
Prior Matchups -- UCLA leads the all-time series with Santa Clara, 15-8-4, but Santa Clara holds the edge in NCAA Tournament games, 3-1. The Broncos won the first three NCAA Tournament games against the Bruins before UCLA knocked off the Broncos in the first round en route to the 1997 NCAA title.
Last Meeting -- On Sept. 22, UCLA lost a heartbreaker in overtime at Santa Clara, 2-1. The Bruins led in the first half after senior defender Mike Zaher's long-range blast into the lower corner of the far post at 37:09. But a red card to Richard Flores in the 68th minute made it difficult for UCLA to protect its lead, as the Bruins played a man down for the final 23 minutes of regulation. At 85:29, the Broncos broke through with the tying goal on Peter Lowry's one-timer off a cross from Brian Curry. And just Just 39 seconds into overtime, Jeff Cosgriff chipped a shot over Brian Perk from six yards out to end the game.
Bend It Like Naka - Sophomore midfielder Kyle Nakazawa's bending free kick for a goal with 1:39 remaining in regulation provided a dramatic finish for the Bruins in a 1-0 victory over New Mexico in the NCAA first round. Nakazawa earned the free kick when he was taken down just outside the penalty box. His curled his free kick around the Bronco wall and into the back of the net for his third goal of the year and first off a free kick.
'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 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.'
It was Nakazawa's second game-winning goal of the season. Both have come in the final two minutes of the game. On Oct. 21 at Washington, he scored the game-winner with 53 seconds left in regulation in a 3-2 victory. Nakazawa ranks second on the team in goals (3) and points (13) and is the team and Pac-10 leader in assists with seven.
Griffin Go-To Guy -- Junior forward Maxwell Griffin has become UCLA's go-to-guy for goals this season, scoring a career-best and team-leading nine goals in 18 games. In his career, he has totaled 18 goals and 39 points, most amongst all current Bruins.
Eleven Bruins Named To All-Pac-10 Teams -- A conference-best 11 UCLA players were selected to the 2007 Men's Soccer All-Pac-10 teams. Junior midfielders Tony Beltran and Jason Leopoldo, sophomore midfielder Chance Myers and senior defender Mike Zaher earned first-team honors, while sophomore midfielder Kyle Nakazawa received second-team acclaim. Sophomore forward David Estrada, senior defenders Greg Folk and Brandon Owens, junior forward Maxwell Griffin, sophomore goalkeeper Brian Perk and junior defender Brad Rusin earned honorable mention nods. Zaher earned his second-consecutive first-team nods, while Beltran, Leopoldo and Myers earned first-team honors for the first time. Owens became UCLA's first four-time all-conference performer since Adolfo Gregorio (2000-2003).
Zaher A Finalist For Senior CLASS Award -- UCLA defender Mike Zaher is one of 10 finalists for the 2007 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for men's soccer. The award is presented annually in eight NCAA Division I sports to a senior student-athlete who excels both on and off the field. The areas of excellence are identified under classroom, community, character and competition. Zaher has been an exemplary student-athlete, twice earning Pac-10 All-Academic honors and being honored with UCLA's Team GPA award in 2006. He has also remained active in the community, participating in several community outreach projects and fund-raisers. The 2007 team co-captains has been a three-year starter for UCLA, and last year, he earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors and third-team NSCAA All-Far West acclaim. He was selected as a pre-season All-American in 2007 by College Soccer News. Zaher currently ranks second on the team in goals (3) and assists (3) and is third in points (9).
Iron Man -- For the second-straight year defender Greg Folk has played in every minute of every game. He leads the team in minutes played with 1,864 and played in all 2,260 minutes a year ago. Three other Bruin players have totaled 1,860+ minutes - sophomore goalkeeper Brian Perk (1,863), senior defender Mike Zaher (1,862) and junior midfielder Tony Beltran (1,860).
Bruins A Big Draw -- The Bruins have seen their fair share of big crowds this year, both home and away. UCLA road games this year (10 away, one neutral) have averaged 2,595 fans. School attendance records were set at Indiana (7,423) and at Creighton (5,812), and the Bruins played in front of an over-capacity crowd of 3,143 at San Francisco. In addition, the team played in front of season-best crowds of 2,333 at Santa Clara, 1,095 at Cal State Northridge and 1,112 at Stanford. Overall this season, the Bruins are playing in front of crowds averaging 2,051, and UCLA leads the Pac-10 in home attendance average (1,386). The Oct. 28 men's/women's doubleheader (UCLA men played Oregon State, UCLA women hosted USC), drew the second-largest home crowd in UCLA soccer history - 3,345.