Eighth-Seeded Bruins Handle Harvard, 3-0 In NCAA Men's Soccer Second Round
Nov. 15, 2006
Los Angeles, Calif. - The eighth-seeded and 14th-ranked UCLA men's soccer team turned the tables on the nation's highest-scoring team, defeating Harvard by a 3-0 score at Frank W. Marshall Field at Drake Stadium Wednesday evening.
The Crimson entered the game as the No. 1 offensive team in the nation, averaging 2.5 goals per game, but the Bruins accomplished what no other team had been able to do to Harvard all year - shut them out.
UCLA's post-season got off to an ideal start. Less than two minutes after kickoff, sophomore midfielder Sal Zizzo took a pass from freshman midfielder Michael Stephens and buried it into the back of the net from the right side at the 1:55 mark for his third goal of the year.
'Starting off the game, it was good to get a goal,' Zizzo said. 'It was a mood killer for them, and it put them on their heels the rest of the game.'
Zizzo terrorized the Crimson defense most of the contest, taking six shots, three of which were on goal. In the 31st minute, he accepted a perfect cross from Mike Zaher, but his header from close range was stopped by Harvard goalkeeper Adam Hahn. Zizzo had another fantastic look at a goal in the 39th minute, chipping a shot past Hahn as a Crimson defender made contact. Zizzo's shot hit the left post there, but he was not going to be denied a second time. A minute later, at 39:30, Zaher once against fed Zizzo with a cross, and Zizzo's strike from eight yards out gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead just before halftime. The goal was Zizzo's fourth of the year, upping his season points total to 16. Ironically, he was moved to the right side for defensive purposes and ended up having one of his best offensive games.
'That early goal gave our team confidence,' said UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo. 'We were dangerous in the counter-attack and did a great job of maintaining possession.'
Harvard came out with more intensity in the second half and tripled its shot total in the second half, taking six shots. The Bruins also stepped up the offensive pressure and had nine shots after halftime, forcing Hahn to make four saves in the second half. Hahn made a nice stop on a breakaway opportunity by Kyle Nakazawa in the 51st minute but could not stop Nakazawa at 73:25 when the freshman midfielder knocked in a Chance Myers cross from close range. The goal was Nakazawa's fourth of the season and second in as many games since switching to the forward position.
Bruin senior goalkeeper Eric Reed had two saves in the contest, including a stop on a Charles Altchek shot with 4:50 to play to earn his fourth shutout of the year. Hahn finished with five saves.
'They scored at crucial times - in the second minute of play and right before halftime,' said Harvard head coach John Kerr. 'We've been strong in the second half this year, but that second goal just took the wind out of our sails.'
The Bruins (11-5-4) will host the winner of the Clemson-Gardner-Webb game that will take place Thursday. The game was postponed due to inclement weather in Clemson. The Bruins' third round game will take place at Drake Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 19 at 5 pm. Harvard concludes its season with a final record of 14-5-0.