UCLA Men Advance To College Cup With 3-2 Come-From-Behind Win Over Duke

Nov. 26, 2006

Durham, NC - Eighth-seeded UCLA overcame a 2-0 first-half deficit to defeat top-ranked Duke, 3-2, in NCAA quarterfinal action at Duke's Koskinen Stadium. Sal Zizzo scored the tying goal in the 78th minute and the game-winning goal just 30 seconds into the overtime period to help the Bruins complete their comeback, sending the Bruins to the College Cup for the 12th time in school history.

Duke took a page from UCLA's playoff book, scoring two quick goals to go ahead, 2-0. Just 25 seconds into the match, Spencer Wadsworth knocked in a 15-yeard shot far post into the upper left corner to put Duke ahead, 1-0. The Blue Devils made the score 2-0 at 18:26 when Chris Loftus scored off a corner kick less than three minutes after entering the game.

The Blue Devils' second goal lit a fire into the Bruins, who stepped it up offensively and defensively. The Bruin defense held the Duke offense to just one shot in the first half after the second goal. David Estrada hit a shot just high at 20:07 and had a shot on goal at 22:22 that forced Duke goalkeeper Justin Papadakis into a diving save. Jason Leopoldo had a shot tipped over the crossbar by Papadakis at 30:23. At 36:29, Zizzo made a great run down the right sideline and then up the middle and got an open look at the net, but Papadakis made another excellent save.

The Bruins broke through on the scoreboard at 40:05 when Estrada and Kyle Nakazawa worked a give-and-go, and Nakazawa sent a cross into the box that Leopoldo slotted past the goalkeeper for his seventh goal of the year.

The second half was more of a defensive half, with no team recording a shot until there were 17:25 left in the game. Duke's Tomek Charowski had an open look from close range, but Bruin goalkeeper Eric Reed made an outstanding save to stop the shot.

UCLA pushed forward with three front-runners in the final 15 minutes to try to equalize, and the strategy worked. At 76:59, Leopoldo earned a corner kick. Zizzo tapped a short kick to Nakazawa, who passed to Mike Zaher just outside the box. Zaher sent a ball into Zizzo, who knocked in his fourth post-season goal of the year to tie the score at 77:11.

The score remained tied after regulation, but the Bruins didn't take long to end the game. UCLA controlled the ball at kickoff and, on a play diagrammed by Bruin head coach Jorge Salcedo, Leopoldo ran alongside the endline on the left side and sent a cross into the box to Zizzo, who scored the game-winner in front of the goal to give UCLA the win.

'We talked about the play before (the overtime),' said Zizzo. The plan was to get on the endline and make a near post run. Jason drove the ball around, and I tucked it away.'

'This was obviously a huge win for us,' said Salcedo. 'We showed a lot of character down 2-0 on the road and against the No.1 team in the country. This was a tough game for anyone to lose. Duke had a great year. Hats off to them and their season.'

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