UCLA Opens NCAA Tournament Play Against Cal Poly
Nov. 20, 2008
This Week -- Pac-10 champion UCLA (10-4-6 overall, ranked No. 11 by Soccer America and No. 13 by the NSCAA) will participate in its 26th consecutive NCAA Tournament, opening up play with a first round home game against Cal Poly (10-5-6) on Friday, Nov. 21 at 7 pm. The game will take place at Marshall Field at Drake Stadium. Tickets are $9 for adults/$7 for students and youth and can be purchased at the door.
Live Coverage -- A free audio broadcast and Gametracker live stats will be available for Friday's game at uclabruins.com.
Bruins Reach Tournament For 26th Consecutive Year -- UCLA earned its 26th consecutive and 36th overall NCAA Tournament berth after claiming the Pac-10 title on Nov. 2. UCLA's NCAA streak is the second-longest active streak in the nation, and the 36 NCAA appearances are second only to Saint Louis' 45. UCLA has an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 60-32 with national championships in 1985, 1990, 1997 and 2002.
UCLA vs. Tournament Field -- The Bruins have played eight games against NCAA Tournament teams this season, going 2-3-3 with a 2-1 win over Cal Poly, a 3-2 victory at California and ties against North Carolina, UC Santa Barbara, and California.
Pac-10 Champions -- UCLA won its fifth 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 finished with a 7-1-2 league record.
In The Rankings -- UCLA has moved up as high as 11th (Soccer America) in the national rankings, the Bruins' highest position since the pre-season rankings. UCLA is also ranked 13th by the NSCAA, 12th by Top Drawer Soccer, 14th by College Soccer News and 17th by Soccer Times.
Scouting The Mustangs -- Cal Poly received an at-large NCAA Tournament berth after finishing third in the Big West Conference. The Mustangs went 4-2-4 in their last 10 games and finished the regular season with a 2-1 loss at UCLA and a 2-2 tie with UC Santa Barbara in the Big West Tournament semifinals (UCSB advanced after outshooting Cal Poly, 4-3, in the penalty kick shootout). David Zamora (8g) and Julian Alvarez (6g, 4a) lead the Mustangs with 16 points each. Goalkeeper Eric Branagan-Franco earned Co-Big West Goalkeeper of the Year honors after posting a 0.89 GAA with eight shutouts and 98 saves. Redshirt freshman Patrick Sigler was named Co-Big West Freshman of the Year.
Last Meeting -- UCLA and Cal Poly met less than two weeks ago on Nov. 8 in Los Angeles, with the Bruins earning a 2-1 victory. Freshman Andy Rose scored the game's first goal, the first of his career, in the 18th minute. Senior Maxwell Griffin, who minutes earlier had hit both the right and left posts on shot attempts, put UCLA ahead 2-0 in the 69th minute with his 10th goal of the year. The Bruins were minutes away from recording their seventh straight shutout when they were called for a handball in the box at 88:15. Cal Poly's David Zamora knocked in the resulting penalty kick to snap the shutout streak at 664 minutes.
UCLA's History With Cal Poly -- UCLA leads the all-time series with the Mustangs, 9-0-2. The Bruins have won nine straight in the series, with the two ties coming in 1967 and 1968. UCLA and Cal Poly have met once in the NCAA Tournament, in 1995 at UCLA's North Athletic Field. The Bruins won that game by a 2-1 count.
By Comparison -- On paper, UCLA and Cal Poly are evenly-matched, with UCLA holding a 37-32 advantage in goals scored, and Cal Poly holding a 20-23 advantage in goals allowed. Each team has eight shutouts on the year. The teams share three common opponents in UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Northridge. Both teams defeated UCR (UCLA 3-0, Cal Poly 1-0 and 3-2), tied Cal State Northridge (UCLA 2-2, Cal Poly 0-0) and tied UCSB (UCLA 2-2, Cal Poly 2-2 and 0-0). Cal Poly's first of three games against the Gauchos this year resulted in a 1-0 double overtime loss.
Streaking Bruins -- UCLA enters the postseason on a roll, going unbeaten in eight straight games and in 14 of the last 15 games. The Bruins have allowed just two goals during the eight-game unbeaten streak, one of which was on a penalty kick. UCLA 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.
Last Time Out -- The Bruins ended the regular season with a bang, exploding for a season-best six goals in a 6-1 rout at San Diego State on Nov. 15. The win extended the Bruins' unbeaten streak to eight games. Junior forward David Estrada scored two goals with one assist, and junior midfielder Michael Stephens tied the school record with four assists. Also scoring goals were Jason Leopoldo, Andy Rose, Eder Arreola and Andrew Sinderhoff. San Diego State scored its lone goal on a rebound shot in the final three seconds of the game. The six goals scored by the Bruins were the most by a UCLA team since a 7-1 NCAA quarterfinal win over Penn State in 2002.
Stephens Selected Pac-10 Player of the Year -- Junior midfielder Michael Stephens (Naperville, IL/Edison Academic Center) was named the 2008 Pac-10 Player of the Year. Stephens becomes the third player in UCLA history to be selected, joining All-Americans Matt Taylor (2003) and Patrick Ianni (2004). Stephens was dominant in Pac-10 play this season, scoring 16 of his league-high 23 points and eight of his nine assists in conference games. He currently leads the Pac-10 and UCLA in scoring with 23 points and is tied for the lead in assists with nine after recording a school record-tying four assists at San Diego State last Saturday. Stephens also ranks second on the Bruin squad with seven goals. This week, he became the first player ever to receive Pac-10 Player of the Week honors three times in one season.
Salcedo Honored As Pac-10 Coach of the Year -- Bruin head coach Jorge Salcedo was voted by his peers as the Pac-10 Coach of the Year. Salcedo has led the Bruins to their fifth Pac-10 title in the last seven years and to their 26th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. UCLA ran away with the conference title, clinching with two weeks to go in the season and finishing with a 7-1-2 record. Salcedo guided a young Bruin team with 12 newcomers through a rough start and difficult schedule and finished strong, going unbeaten in the last eight games and in 14 of the last 15 overall. The Bruins finished the regular season leading the Pac-10 in goals (37), assists (45), points (119) and saves (81). Additionally, they rank in the top 50 in the nation in scoring offense (1.85) and shutout percentage (0.40). This is Salcedo's second career Pac-10 Coach of the Year honor, having previously shared the distinction in his first season in 2004.
Eight Bruins Named To All-Pac-10 Teams -- Eight UCLA players were selected to the 2008 Men's Soccer All-Pac-10 teams. Pac-10 Player of the Year Michael Stephens and seniors Maxwell Griffin, Jason Leopoldo and Brad Rusin earned first-team honors, while junior goalkeeper Brian Perk received second-team acclaim. Juniors David Estrada and Danny Suits and freshman Andy Rose earned honorable mention nods. Leopoldo received his second-consecutive first-team nod, while Rusin earned his first first-team honor but fourth overall all-conference nod.
Stephens Ties UCLA Assist Record -- With assists on the Bruins' first four goals at San Diego State Nov. 15, junior midfielder Michael Stephens tied the UCLA school record for single-assists. Zak Ibsen set the record on Nov. 10, 1991 in an 8-0 win over San Jose State. Stephens jumped into a tie for the Pac-10 lead in assists with Jason Leopoldo with nine.
Goal-Scoring Griffin -- Senior Maxwell Griffin leads UCLA and the Pac-10 in goals scored with a career-best 10 goals and ranks second in scoring with 22 points. Griffin also leads the conference with four game-winning goals and has amassed 11 in his career, which ranks sixth on UCLA's career list. Griffin has totaled 28 goals in 69 career games.
Bruins Receive Perks Of Good Goalkeeping -- Goalkeeper Brian Perk has enjoyed his finest season to date. The Bruin junior has totaled a 0.96 GAA with seven shutouts and 71 saves. During UCLA's current eight-game unbeaten streak, Perk has allowed just one goal (on a penalty kick) in 711 minutes of play, posting a miniscule GAA of just 0.13.
Foreign Flair -- Freshman Andy Rose, who was named to the honorable mention All-Pac-10 squad, is UCLA's first foreign player since Martin Bruno of Copenhagen, Denmark, by way of Terra Linda HS in the Bay Area, played on the team from 1996-99. The last UCLA player to come from a foreign school was Canadian Brad McAdams back in 1987.
Leaders Of The Pac -- Several Bruins rank amongst the individual leaders in the Pac-10 Conference. Michael Stephens leads in points (23) and is tied for first with Jason Leopoldo in assists (9). Maxwell Griffin leads in goals (10) and game-winning goals (4) and a close second in points with 22. Goalkeeper Brian Perk leads the conference with 71 saves and seven shutouts and ranks second with a 0.96 GAA.
Injury Update -- Freshman defender Chris Cummings and junior midfielder Kyle Nakazawa will be unavailable for the NCAA Tournament due to injury. Cummings tore ligaments in his knee in practice last week, and Nakazawa is out with a back injury. Cummings started 18 games at left back prior to his injury and contributed three assists. Nakazawa played in just 10 games and recorded one goal and four assists.
NCAA Battle-Tested -- UCLA's core group of players has plenty of NCAA experience, with five players remaining from the starting lineup of the Bruins' 2006 NCAA finalist squad (David Estrada, Jason Leopoldo, Michael Stephens, Kyle Nakazawa and Brad Rusin). Ten Bruins have played in a total of 46 NCAA Tournament games, with Rusin leading the way with eight games and starts. Estrada is UCLA's leading active scorer in NCAA Tournament games with four goals (all in 2006). Nakazawa and Leopoldo have recorded two goals apiece, and Stephens has one. Two of UCLA's goalkeepers have started at least one game - Brian Perk in last year's 1st round game and Trevor Hunter in the 2007 2nd round. Other Bruins with NCAA playing experience are Danny Suits, Maxwell Griffin and Sean Alvarado.
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 - 16, Luis Serrano - 14, Zack Zerrenner - 12) making at least 10 starts.
Extra Time -- Of its 20 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. Four Bruins have logged over 1,700 minutes already this season - Danny Suits (1,850), Michael Stephens (1,833), Jason Leopoldo (1,742) and Brad Rusin (1,725).
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.
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.