UCLA Vs. UCSB Play For NCAA Men's Soccer Championship Today

Dec. 3, 2006

#8 UCLA vs. UC Santa Barbara -- The eighth-seeded UCLA men's soccer team (14-5-4, ranked No. 14 in the Soccer America poll and No. 22 in the NSCAA poll) will face unseeded UC Santa Barbara (16-7-1) in the College Cup Finals on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 2 pm CT at Robert R. Hermann Stadium in St. Louis, Mo. The two UC schools will be battling in an intra-state final for only the second time in NCAA men's soccer history. The only other time two teams from the same state faced each other in the finals was in 2002, when UCLA defeated Stanford, 1-0.

UCLA's Championship History -- This is the eighth NCAA Championship game appearance for UCLA. The Bruins are 4-3 in title games, with four straight finals victories (1985, 1990, 1997 and 2002). After Saturday's semifinal win over Virginia, the Bruins improved their semifinal record to 9-4 and their overall Tournament record to 59-30.

Live Coverage -- ESPN2 will carry the UCLA-UC Santa Barbara game live at 2:00 pm CT. Santa Barbara radio station KCSB will do a live webcase on KCSB.org. Gametracker live stats will also be provided.

UCLA Aims To Become The First To 100 -- A victory on Sunday would give UCLA its 100th NCAA title in school history. The Bruins' current total of 99 NCAA championships is the most by any university in the nation. Stanford ranks second with 93 titles.

Road To The Finals -- As the eighth seed, UCLA received a first round bye and then posted identical 3-0 wins over Harvard in the second round and ninth-seeded Clemson in the third round before going on the road to face top-seeded Duke. The Bruins faced an early 2-0 deficit after the Blue Devils scored just 25 seconds into the match and again in the 20th minute. But UCLA chipped away at the lead, with Jason Leopoldo netting a goal just before halftime and Sal Zizzo scoring the game-tying goal in the 78th minute and game-winner just 30 seconds into overtime to lead the comeback win. In the semifinals, David Estrada scored two goals 67 seconds apart to give UCLA a quick 2-0 lead in the second half, and the Bruins never looked back, winning 4-0 over fourth-seeded Virginia.

ACC West? -- Saturday's semifinal win over Virginia marked the Bruins' third consecutive victory over an ACC opponent. The Bruins first defeated Clemson 3-0 in the NCAA third round, then defeated Duke, 3-2 in the quarterfinals.

UCLA vs. Tournament Field -- The Bruins played an astounding 16 games out of 23 against NCAA Tournament teams, posting a record of 10-5-1. UCLA has victories over New Mexico (2-0 on Sept. 8), Santa Clara (2-1 on Sept. 15), San Francisco (2-0 on Sept. 17), Washington (2-1 in double overtime on Sept. 29), UC Santa Barbara (3-1 on Oct. 5), San Diego State (2-1 on Oct. 8), Harvard (3-0 in the NCAA 2nd Round on Nov. 15), Clemson (3-0 in the NCAA 3rd Round on Nov. 19), Duke (3-2 in overtime in the NCAA Quarterfinals on Nov. 26) and Virginia (4-0 in the NCAA Semifinals), as well as a tie against San Diego State (1-1 on Nov. 3). All of UCLA's losses this season have come to NCAA Tournament teams, including four against Top 16 seeds (No. 4 Virginia, No. 5 Maryland, No. 13 California twice).

In The Rankings -- UCLA ranks No. 14 in the Soccer America poll, No. 22 in the NSCAA and College Soccer News polls and No. 15 in the Soccer Times poll. UC Santa Barbara is ranked 17th by Soccer America.

Scouting UCSB -- The unseeded Gauchos had to win five games to get to the Finals. UCSB first defeated San Diego State, 2-1, then upset top-ranked and third-seeded SMU in the second round, 3-1. The Gauchos went on the road again for the third round and defeated Old Dominion, 2-1, before returning home to defeat Northwestern, 3-2, behind a hat trick by Tyler Rosenlund. In the semifinals, UCSB defeated Wake Forest on penalty kicks (4-3) to advance to the finals for the second time in three years. UCSB advanced to the College Cup final in 2004 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA and lost in penalty kicks to Indiana.

Prior Matchups With UCSB -- UCLA is 30-2-1 all-time against UCSB and won an Oct. 5 matchup earlier in the year at Santa Barbara, 3-1. Jason Leopoldo scored the game-winning goal in that game, and freshmen Michael Stephens and David Estrada also tallied goals for the Bruins, while Sal Zizzo recorded two assists. Only one person on either team was born the last time UCSB defeated UCLA 24 years ago (Oct. 30, 1982, 3-1 in Santa Barbara) - UC Santa Barbara's Brian Byrne, who was two months old.

Salcedo Seeks Third NCAA Title -- UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo is making his third NCAA Finals appearance and his first as a head coach. Salcedo first participated in the College Cup as a freshman in 1990 and scored the game-winning penalty kick in the championship game against Rutgers. In 2002, he was a second-year assistant coach for the championship squad that defeated Stanford, 1-0, in the title game. Now in his third season as head coach of the Bruins, he has led the team back to the title game. Salcedo was part of UCLA's 1985 championship team as well - he was a ball boy for the Bruin home games and attended the Championship game in Seattle.

In Salcedo's three years as head coach, he has led his Bruin team to a Top 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament each year and has won two Pac-10 team titles. In his first season, he was selected the Pac-10 Co-Coach of the Year. He has been lauded for his recruiting ability, as his 2004 and 2006 recruiting classes were ranked No. 1 in the nation. As an assistant coach from 2001-03, he helped guide UCLA to the 2002 NCAA Championship and to two Pac-10 titles. As a player, he was a four-year starter at UCLA, a first-team NSCAA All-American as a senior and a national champion as a freshman. He went on to play professionally in Mexico and in Major League Soccer for five seasons.

Semifinal Recap -- UCLA used a second-half offensive ouburst to defeat Virginia in the semifinals, 4-0. David Estrada scored two goals 67 seconds apart to give UCLA a 2-0 lead after 65 minutes, then Chance Myers and Michael Stephens added to the scoreboard after Virginia went down a man after a red card in the 83rd minute. All four goals were scored by freshmen.

Offense, Defense Clicking In Post-Season -- The Bruins are firing on all cylinders both offensively and defensively in the post-season. UCLA has outscored its opponents 13-2 in four games and has limited its four high-scoring opponents to a total of 25 shots and 16 shots on goal in the four games.

Harvard came into the second round game as the highest scoring team in the nation with an average of 2.5 goals per game, and the Bruin defense recorded the first shutout of the year on the Crimson. Clemson also came in with a potent offense that had scored 42 goals on the year, including 11 apiece from Dane Richards and Frederico Moojen. They too were shut out, as were Virginia's powerful duo of Adam Cristman and Yannick Reyering. The starting Bruin backline of Mike Zaher, Greg Folk, Brad Rusin and Kiel McClung has been effective in thwarting any scoring opportunities, as has goalkeeper Eric Reed, who had two straight shutouts while only having to make four saves in the first two games.

Offensively, the Bruins have flourished in the five games since midfielder Kyle Nakazawa was moved to the forward position. Not coincidentally, UCLA has scored at least three goals in each of those games, and Nakazawa has had a goal or an assist in each game. Sal Zizzo has been the spark-plug in the post-season, scoring five goals with one assist in the two tournament games. David Estrada has four post-season goals, scoring two apiece in games against Clemson and Virginia.

Zizzo Earns Second-Team All-America Honors -- Sophomore midfielder Sal Zizzo earned NSCAA second-team All-America honors. Zizzo (San Diego, Calif./Patrick Henry HS) has recorded seven goals and nine assists for 23 points. Remarkably, he has scored 11 of those points in the Bruins' last four games, all in the NCAA Tournament. With Zizzo's selection, UCLA has now produced an All-American in each of the last 24 years.

Estrada Extravaganza Continues -- Since being inserted into the starting lineup on Oct. 5 at UC Santa Barbara, freshman forward David Estrada has taken over as the team's go-to scorer. As a starter, he has scored 11 goals and three assists for 25 of his 28 points. Estrada's 28 points are the most by a Bruin freshman since Joe-Max Moore had 32 in 1990. The success of the walk-on from Salinas, Calif. should be no surprise to anyone familiar with his high school career. At Alisal HS last year, Estrada scored a national-best 66 goals, including 11 in one game, the second-most single-game goals in state history.

The Killer Z -- Sophomore midfielder Sal Zizzo has been UCLA's offensive catalyst throughout the Bruins' post-season run, scoring five goals and an assist in four games. Zizzo scored two first half goals, including one just 1:55 into the game, to lead UCLA to a 3-0 win over Harvard in the second round. He contributed to all three goals in the third round shutout win over Clemson, assisting on the first, which was a David Estrada putback of a saved Zizzo shot, scored the second and fed Estrada for the last goal, which he scored after juking two defenders three times. Zizzo provided big heroics in the quarterfinals at Duke, scoring the tying goal and the game-winner 30 seconds into overtime to propel UCLA to a come-from-behind 3-2 overtime victory. Zizzo ranks second on the team in scoring with 23 points, is tied for second with seven goals and continues to lead the team with nine assists.

Freshmen Force -- Saturday's semifinal game against Virginia was illustrated the impact the Bruins' freshman class has had on the team. All four goals were scored by freshmen - two by David Estrada and one each by Chance Myers and Michael Stephens. Another freshman, Kyle Nakazawa, had an assist on the game-winner.

The Bruins' highly-touted 12-man freshman class are playing like seasoned veterans. Estrada leads the team in scoring with 12 goals and 28 points. Nakazawa has started in all 24 games and ranks fourth on the team in scoring with 16 points (4g, 8a). Midfielder Michael Stephens has started in each of the last 21 games and has seen action in all 23. He has recorded two goals and three assists on the year. Defender Chance Myers has played in 20 games with five starts. He is tied for third on the team with four assists and notched his first goal in the semifinal game. Midfielder James Jaramillo has played in 19 games with nine starts and scored the game-winning goal in double overtime against Washington. Midfielder Andrew Sinderhoff has logged three starts and played in 12 games, recording his first collegiate goal against Oakland. Goalkeeper Brian Perk has posted a record of 3-1-3 with 29 saves. Defender Danny Suits has played in seven games, and Patrick Rickards and Ryan White have played in six.

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