Pac-10 Men's Soccer Champions Close Regular Season
Nov. 10, 2003
This Week - The top-ranked UCLA men's soccer team (17-1-0, 9-0-0 in the Pac-10 Conference) close out the regular season with a Thursday road game against the University of San Diego (12-4-2) and the regular season home finale against Fresno State (5-13-0, 2-7-0) on Saturday at 7 pm.
Bruins Aim For School Record Win Streak Thursday - The Pac-10 Champion Bruins have their eyes set on the school record for consecutive wins, having won 15 straight. A win over San Diego would tie the school record, set by the 1970 Bruin squad, which won the first 16 games before falling in the NCAA Championship game, 1-0.
Seniors Honored Saturday - UCLA's great senior class of John Carson, Adolfo Gregorio, Leonard Griffin, Dru Hoshimiya, Tony Lawson, Ty Maurin, Cliff McKinley, Matt Taylor and Zach Wells, as well as team manager Fred Fowler, will be honored in pre-game ceremonies Saturday night. The nine seniors have earned 13 All-Pac-10 honors between them and won Pac-10 titles in 2002 and 2003 and the NCAA Championship in 2002. This season, the senior class has totalled 113 starts, 24 goals, 31 assists and 79 points.
Scouting the Toreros - San Diego won 11 consecutive games from Sept. 21-October 31 but dropped its last two contests on the road to Portland (4-2) and Santa Clara (2-0). Eric Wunderle leads the Toreros in scoring with 16 points on four goals and eight assists. UCLA leads the overall series with San Diego, 15-4-2, and has won the last two contests, 3-1 at home in 2002 and 4-0 on the road in the second round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament. Matt Taylor has thrived against San Diego's defense in those last two games, scoring two goals in the 2001 matchup and one goal and one assist in the 2002 game.
Scouting the Bulldogs - Fresno State has just one win in its last six games and has been outscored at a 34-16 clip this season. Chris Murphy leads the Bulldogs with 10 points off four goals and two assists. The Bruins trounced the Bulldogs, 5-0, in the earlier matchup on Oct. 12. Matt Taylor had two goals and one assist, and all 25 eligible players saw action in the contest. UCLA leads the overall series with Fresno State, 16-8-3, and has won the last six straight.
Bruins Capture Second Straight Pac-10 Title - UCLA clinched its second consecutive Pac-10 Conference title after a 5-0 victory over second-place Oregon State. The Bruins will receive an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. Currently with a 9-0-0 Pac-10 record, UCLA can become the first team in Pac-10 men's soccer history to go undefeated in league play with a victory over Fresno State on Saturday.
Wells On His Way To The Record Books - Senior goalkeeper Zach Wells is on pace to break UCLA's school record for single-season goals against average. Wells currently has compiled a 0.31 GAA with just five goals allowed and 10 solo shutouts in 1472 minutes of action. All-American Anton Nistl set the school mark in 1989 and 1986 with a GAA of 0.53 and recorded a school-record 16 shutouts in 1989. Wells has moved into third on UCLA's career saves list with 254 and is within striking distance of passing all-time leader Nistl, who totaled 261 saves from 1986-89. Wells also moved into fifth on the career shutouts list with 26 and has now tied Brad Friedel for fourth place on the career victories list with 46. With his career goals against average now at 0.67, Wells is currently tied for second with Nick Rimando on the UCLA career list. Friedel holds the school record with 0.60. If Wells' goals against average holds up at 0.31, it will be the third-lowest in NCAA history (NCAA record is 0.26, held by John Putna of Indiana in 1978).
More Shutouts For the Defense - The Bruin defense, labeled by College Soccer News as one of the Top 5 in the nation, earned its 13th and 14th shutouts of the season last weekend with a 1-0 victory over Washington and a 5-0 win over Oregon State. UCLA has allowed just six goals this year for a team goals against average of 0.33 and has shut 13 of the last 15 opponents. The Bruins' current mark would rank third in NCAA history (NCAA record is 0.24 set by the 1990 Evansville team).
Gregorio, Lopez Chosen As M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Candidates - Senior midfielder Adolfo Gregorio and junior defensive midfielder Aaron Lopez are among 15 candidates for the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy. Gregorio is a two-time first-team All-Pac-10 selection and a Soccer America pre-season All-American who ranks amongst the nation's leaders in assists per game with 10 assists in 17 games. Lopez's defensive efforts have enabled UCLA to rank amongst the stingiest backlines of all-time, recording a team goals against average of 0.33. Lopez was UCLA's Team MVP in 2002 and the Offensive MVP of the 2002 College Cup after scoring the game-winning goal with 1:02 remaining in the title match.
Wells, Hoshimiya Earn First-Team Academic All-District Honors - Seniors Zach Wells and Dru Hoshimiya have proven themselves to be winners on and off the pitch. The duo have been selected to the CoSIDA Verizon Academic All-District VIII first team and have been placed on the ballot for Academic All-America honors. Wells has compiled a cumulative GPA of 3.22 in American Literature & Culture. Hoshimiya has a 3.46 GPA in Sociology. On the field, they have been key components to UCLA's top-ranked defense. Wells in goal has allowed only five goals in 1472 minutes. Hoshimiya, who moved from central midfielder to sweeper after an injury to team captain Tony Lawson, has been outstanding in the back, as UCLA has allowed only three goals since the switch.
A Barrett Balanced Attack - Freshman forward Chad Barrett, a leading candidate for Freshman of the Year honors, has not only scored the goals for UCLA, but set up the goals as well. Barrett has scored eight goals and recorded eight assists for a total of 24 points, the most by a Bruin freshman since Joe-Max Moore had 32 in 1990. The Beaverton, Ore. native ranks second on the team in all three scoring categories.
High-Powered Offense - UCLA has scored 46 goals this season to rank first in the Pac-10 in scoring offense. In their last eight games alone, the Bruins have scored 23 goals. Leading the charge is senior Matt Taylor, who ranks amongst the nation's leaders with 13 goals in 17 games played. Freshman Chad Barrett has scored eight goals with eight assists, and senior Adolfo Gregorio has provided a team-high 10 assists to go along with four goals. Junior midfielder Mike Enfield has established career-high numbers with three goals and seven assists for 13 points.
Deep Bench - One of the biggest reasons why UCLA has been so hard to stop this year is the depth of its roster. A total of 20 players have started at least one game this season, including 14 who have started at least six games. Only three players - goalkeeper Zach Wells, defender Leonard Griffin and defensive midfielder Aaron Lopez - have started in all 18 games. Although Matt Taylor has scored 13 goals all on his own, UCLA's offensive attack has been more than just one-pronged. A total of 13 different players have scored, and five different players scored for the Bruins in last Sunday's 5-0 victory.
NCAA Selection Show - UCLA will learn its fate in the NCAA Tournament on Monday, Nov. 17 at 1 pm when the NCAA bracket is revealed on ESPNews. The Bruins are expected to receive a high seeding and a first-round bye. The NCAA second round games are scheduled to take place Wednesday, Nov. 26.
Head Coach Tom Fitzgerald - NSCAA National Coach of the Year Tom Fitzgerald has established lofty standards for himself at UCLA, becoming the first NCAA Division I coach to win an undisputed national championship in his first year with the program in 2002. He also became just the third coach to win NCAA titles in both Division I and Division II. Fitzgerald coached the University of Tampa to the NCAA Division II title in 1994 and was the head coach for Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew from 1996-2001.