UCLA Wraps Up Regular Season Play At San Diego State
Nov. 12, 2008
This Week -- Pac-10 champion UCLA (9-4-6 overall, 6-1-2 in the Pac-10, ranked No. 15 by Soccer America and No. 19 by the NSCAA) wraps up regular season play at San Diego State (6-8-3 overall, 3-3-3 in the Pac-10) on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 1 pm.
Live Coverage -- Gametracker live stats will be available for Saturday's game at goaztecs.com.
Pac-10 Champions -- UCLA won its sixth Pac-10 title in the nine years that the Pac-10 has sponsored men's soccer. The Bruins clinched the victory on Nov. 2 with two weeks left to play in the season after a 2-0 win over Stanford coupled with a 1-0 loss by California to San Diego State. UCLA has 20 points in conference play with one game against San Diego State remaining.
NCAA Tournament Bound -- UCLA became the first school in 2008 to clinch an NCAA Tournament berth, which will be the 26th consecutive and 36th overall for the Bruins. UCLA has an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 60-32 with national championships in 1985, 1990, 1997 and 2002. The NCAA Tournament field will be announced live on Monday, Nov. 17 at 3:00 pm PT on ESPNEWS.
In The Rankings -- UCLA has moved up as high as 15th (Soccer America) in the national rankings, the Bruins' highest position since being ranked 14th in week two. UCLA is also ranked 19th by the NSCAA and College Soccer News, 16th by Top Drawer Soccer and 20th by Soccer Times.
Scouting The Aztecs -- San Diego State is coming off a 4-0 non-conference win over CSU Bakersfield that gave the Aztecs their third consecutive victory. Sophomore Raymundo Reza recorded a hat trick in the game and added an assist to have a hand in each Aztec goal. For his efforts, Reza was selected the Pac-10's Player of the Week. He leads the team with eight goals and 20 points. Matt McManus ranks second on the squad with five goals, and Evan Toft leads the team with six assists.
Last Meeting -- UCLA and San Diego State's Oct. 5 matchup was a wild one. UCLA fell behind 2-0 in the first half before twice mounting comebacks in the second half. Michael Stephens scored twice to tie the game at 2-2. His second goal came on a penalty kick after San Diego State defender Daniel Steres was red-carded for a handball in the box. Despite playing down a man, however, the Aztecs regained the lead eight minutes later on a Joe Corona goal. UCLA once again came back from the deficit and tied the score at the 87:43 mark on a Maxwell Griffin goal. San Diego State went down two men in overtime after Wallace received his second yellow card of the game at 97:58, but the Bruins could not capitalize, and the game finished in a 3-3 tie.
UCLA's History With San Diego State -- UCLA is 27-4-9 all-time against San Diego State. The Aztecs won the last matchup in San Diego a year ago on an 85th minute goal by Khadim Diouf. UCLA last defeated San Diego State in 2006, in San Diego by a 2-1 score after a David Estrada goal and an own goal.
Streaking Bruins -- UCLA has been on a roll in the last four weeks, allowing just one goal on a penalty kick and going unbeaten in its last seven games. The Bruins had a six-game shutout streak from Oct. 17-Nov. 2 that lasted 664 minutes. The shutout streak was the most by a Bruin squad since a six-game streak from Oct. 14 to Nov. 4, 2005 and ranked No. 3 on UCLA's all-time list for consecutive shutouts. The Bruins are undefeated in 13 of their last 14 games and have moved up in the rankings to No. 15 in the Soccer America poll.
Griffin Is UCLA's Go-To Guy -- Senior Maxwell Griffin leads UCLA and the Pac-10 in scoring with a career-best 10 goals and 22 points. Griffin has scored three of the Bruins' last four goals, including the game-winners in the last two contests and in three of UCLA's last four wins. He also leads the Pac-10 with four game-winning goals and has now totaled 11 in his career, which ranks sixth on UCLA's career list. Griffin has totaled 28 goals in 68 career games.
Leaders Of The Pac -- Several Bruins rank amongst the individual leaders in the Pac-10 Conference. Maxwell Griffin leads in points (22), goals (10) and game-winning goals (4). Jason Leopoldo ranks first in assists (8) and is tied for ninth in points (12). Michael Stephens ranks fifth in points (19) and goals (7) and seventh in assists (5). Brad Rusin and Prince Lapnet are tied for 10th with three goals each. Kyle Nakazawa is tied for fourth with 0.40 assists per game and tied for ninth with Eder Arreola with four assists each. Goalkeeper Brian Perk leads the conference with 68 saves and seven shutouts and ranks third with a 1.00 GAA.
Bruins Peaking At The Right Time -- After a slow start to the season, the Bruins are finishing strong, going unbeaten in 13 of their last 14 games. UCLA's young backline has gotten the opportunity to gel, resulting in a six-game shutout streak in Pac-10 Conference play. Health has also played a big factor in the Bruins' reversal of fortune, as UCLA regained the services of previously injured veterans Kyle Nakazawa (missed a total of eight games) and Sean Alvarado (played his first game in almost two years on Oct. 19 and started and had a strong game on Nov. 2 against Stanford). Also back at full strength is Luis Serrano, who missed five games early in the season due to injury.
Extra Time -- Of its 19 games played this season, UCLA has gone to overtime in eight of them. Six have gone the distance, resulting in ties, while two others have ended in the first overtime. The Bruins, who are 1-1-6 in overtime games, have played the equivalent of over one full game with two overtimes - 129 extra minutes. Six Bruins have logged over 1,600 minutes already this season - Danny Suits (1,772), Michael Stephens (1,771), Jason Leopoldo (1,681), Brad Rusin (1,680), Chris Cummings (1,671) and Brian Perk (1,621).
The Bruins' six ties this season are a new school record, breaking the record set by the 1986 squad that finished 16-1-5. Half of UCLA's ties have come while overcoming deficits. Against Cal State Northridge, the Bruins trailed 1-0 after 70 minutes before twice rallying to tie. UC Santa Barbara held a 1-0 halftime lead before UCLA scored twice in the second half, and the Bruins overcame a 2-0 halftime deficit against San Diego State and rallied twice to eventually tie 3-3.
Comeback Kids -- No lead is safe around this 2008 Bruin squad, who has scored goals in the final five minutes of regulation three times to send games to overtime. Brad Rusin did it against North Carolina with a goal to tie in the 86th minute. Against Cal State Northridge, it was Michael Stephens tying things up with a goal in the 85th minute, and Maxwell Griffin scored in the 88th minute against San Diego State to force extra time.
Bruins Faced Five Of Last Six NCAA Champions -- UCLA's 2008 schedule pitted the Bruins against five of the last six NCAA champions. UCLA opened with four of its first five games against prior champions - Maryland (2005), Wake Forest (2007), North Carolina (2001), and Indiana (2003, 2004), and on Oct. 1, the Bruins hosted 2006 champion UC Santa Barbara. The only two championship teams from this decade that UCLA did not face are itself (2002 champions) and 2000 champion Connecticut.
Fresh Faces -- UCLA entered the season with 12 new players, including 11 true freshmen. The incoming class, which was rated the No. 9 recruiting class in the nation by College Soccer News, has made a big impact, with eight players seeing action in at least 10 games and four defensive-minded players (Chris Cummings - 18, Andy Rose - 15, Luis Serrano - 13, Zack Zerrenner - 11) making at least 10 starts.