Men's Soccer Faces UC Irvine In Home Opener

Sept. 10, 2001

This Week - Head coach Todd Saldana's UCLA men's soccer team (2-1-1, ranked No. 7 by Soccer America and No. 22 by the NSCAA) will take on UC Irvine (2-0-1) in the Bruins' home opener at Frank W. Marshall Field on Sunday, Sept. 16 at 3:00 pm.

UCLA In Home Openers - UCLA is 19-1-1 in home openers since 1980. Its only home opening loss came in 1996 in a 2-1 overtime defeat at the hands of Cal.

About The Opponent - UC Irvine has posted two shutouts in three games, blanking Gonzaga and UMKC by identical scores of 1-0. Senior C.J. Cooper picked up the shutout victory in both games. Cooper holds a 0.30 goals against average this year. Three Anteaters have each scored one goal this year - Dardo Acuna, Saul Wolf and Jon Spencer. UCLA holds a 13-1 edge over the Anteaters in the overall series, and the Bruins have won six consecutive games, including a 2-1 overtime win at Irvine last year. In that game, Adolfo Gregorio scored the game-winner less than two minutes into the extra period.

Bruins In The Rankings - The Bruins move up three to seventh in the Soccer America Top 20. UCLA also returns to the NSCAA poll, checking in at No. 22 after briefly dropping out last week. Despite the two shutout victories over the weekend, however, the Bruins went from No. 17 to unranked in the media poll.

Bruins Record Two Shutouts En Route To Tournament Win At USF - UCLA's defense shined at the USF diadora Classic last weekend, shutting out both San Francisco, 4-0, and Santa Clara, 1-0, to capture the tournament title. Against the host Dons, the Bruin defense allowed just three shots in the game, all in the first half. It was the lowest shot total allowed by UCLA since Sept. 1, 2000. The Bruins held Santa Clara to just two shots in the second half of Sunday's game. Goalkeeper Zach Wells (Costa Mesa, Calif./Newport Harbor HS) totaled nine saves over the weekend, including seven against the Broncos, to earn the consecutive shutouts. Wells' performance dropped his goals against average to 0.86.

Pierce Selected Tournament MVP - Junior forward Tim Pierce (Dana Point, Calif./Santa Margarita HS) proved he was worthy of his newfound starting role, scoring two goals en route to Tournament MVP honors at the diadora Classic. Pierce scored the game's second goal in the Bruins' 4-0 win over San Francisco Friday and then recorded the game-winner in the 1-0 win over Santa Clara.

Several Bruins Score First Career Goals - Three Bruins found the back of the net for the first time in UCLA uniforms during the Bruins' 4-0 victory over San Francisco. Scoring the game-winner in the 48th minute was Dru Hoshimiya (South Pasadena, Calif./South Pasadena HS), a sophomore transfer from California. Freshman Aaron Lopez (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara HS) and sophomore Matt Taylor (Irvine, Calif./Irvine HS) also netted their first career goals.

Alex Yi Selected As Hermann Trophy Candidate - Defender Alex Yi (Easton, Md./Bradenton Academy) was selected as a nominee for the Hermann Trophy, college soccer's longest-standing player of the year award. Yi was the 2000 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and a second-team All-Pac-10 selection a year ago. He was one of just three players to start all 19 of UCLA's games in 2000.

Two Bruins Earn Pre-Season All-America Honors - Defenders Alex Yi and Nelson Akwari (Houston, Texas/Stake Jesuit HS) were selected to College's pre-season All-America list. Yi, a second-team selection, and Akwari, an honorable mention pick, each earned all-conference honors as freshmen and both started all 19 games for UCLA in 2000. They were also starters for the U.S. U-20 National Team at the 2001 World Youth Championships.

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