Bruins Welcome Big Ten Foes To Drake Stadium

Sept. 11, 2007

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This Week -- The UCLA men's soccer team (0-2-1, ranked No. 10 by Soccer America and No. 17 by the NSCAA) will finally play its first home games this weekend, hosting Ohio State (3-0-1, ranked 14th by Soccer America and 12th by the NSCAA) on Friday, Sept. 14 at 7 pm and Penn State (1-3-0) on Sunday, Sept. 16 at 2 pm. Both games will take place at Frank W. Marshall Field At Drake Stadium. Prior to both UCLA games, Drake Stadium will also be host to Cal State Fullerton (3-1-0) vs. Penn State on Friday, Sept. 14 at 5 pm and Cal State Fullerton vs. Ohio State on Sunday, Sept. 16 at 11:30 am.

Live Coverage -- will host live stats for all four games and free internet audio broadcasts for UCLA games only. Friday's game will be called by Jeff Knox and former Bruin player Luke Mehring, while Sunday's game will be called by Danny Lee. Gametracker links are as follows:
Friday, Sept. 14

  • Cal State Fullerton vs. Penn State
  • UCLA vs. Ohio State
    Sunday, Sept. 16
  • Cal State Fullerton vs. Ohio State
  • UCLA vs. Penn State

    In The Rankings -- UCLA remains at No. 10 in Soccer America's poll but drops to No. 16 in the Soccer Times poll, 17 in the NSCAA poll and No. 23 in the College Soccer News rankings.

    Scouting The Buckeyes -- Ohio State has started the season 3-0-1 and catapulted to as high as No. 10 (Soccer Times) in the national rankings after wins over 13th-ranked West Virginia (1-0) and 25th-ranked Old Dominion (3-2). Xavier Balc leads the team with two goals and two assists, and the Buckeyes are outscoring their opponents, 9-2, this year. Ohio State's defense, led by M.A.C. Hermann Trophy candidate Eric Brunner, has been strong, allowing an average of just seven shots per game. Goalkeeper Casey Latchem holds a 0.47 goals against average with three shutouts while only having to make five saves.

    UCLA's History With Ohio State -- The series between the two teams is knotted at 1-1. Ohio State won the last game, 2-1, at the Penn State Classic in 2005, with Xavier Balc scoring the winning goal. UCLA's victory came in 2003 at the Cal State Fullerton Classic, 1-0.

    Scouting The Nittany Lions -- Penn State enters this week with a 1-3 record, with its lone victory a 4-1 win over William & Mary. The Lions have been shutout in their three losses. Forward Jason Yeisley leads the team with two goals.

    UCLA's History With Penn State -- UCLA has never lost to Penn State in four meetings and has outscored the Nittany Lions in those four games by a 17-4 count. The last win came on a nationally-televised matchup at Penn State in 2005, with the Bruins winning by a 1-0 score on a late goal by Jonathan Bornstein. The last time the two teams played at Drake Stadium, UCLA defeated Penn State, 7-1, in the 2002 NCAA Quarterfinals.

    Bruins A Big Draw -- The Bruins are a hot-ticket item on the road. UCLA games this year (two road, one neutral) have averaged 5,825 fans. School attendance records were set at Indiana (7,423) and at Creighton (5,812) in UCLA's last two games.

    Shades of 2006 -- Just like last year, the Bruins have started off their season 0-2-1 with a pair of losses to Top 10 opponents (Maryland and Virginia in 2006, Notre Dame and Indiana in 2007). No need to hit the panic button just yet - despite the 0-2-1 start last year, the Bruins went on to play in the NCAA Championship game.

    Injury Updates -- The pre-season injury bug hit the Bruins again this year, although to a much lesser degree than last year. David Estrada underwent foot surgery on Aug. 20 for a fractured metatarsal that will keep him out this week. Freshman Fernando De Alba suffered a dislocated knee that same day and will also be unavailable this week. Sean Alvarado and Edwige Ligonde are also recovering from pre-season surgeries. Alvarado (knee) is expected to be out another week, while Ligonde (leg fractures) is expected to be out 3-5 more weeks.

    Perk Honored As Pac-10 Player Of The Week -- After posting his first collegiate shutout, sophomore goalkeeper Brian Perk was selected the Pac-10 Player of the Week for Sept. 4-10. Perk had an outstanding game in goal at Creighton, making three acrobatic saves in his 110 shutout minutes. He stopped two shots in the first half and one with less than 30 seconds remaining in the second overtime period. This was his first weekly honor and the 28th in UCLA's history.

    Bruins Unlucky In Scoreless Tie At Creighton -- Playing their third consecutive game away from home against a Top 20 team, the Bruins were unlucky in a scoreless decision at 17th-ranked Creighton. UCLA outshot Creighton, 21-12, but could not break through for a goal. One play symbolized the Bruins' hard-luck evening - in the 105th minute after a corner kick, Jason Leopoldo's shot hit the crossbar and came right back to him. His rebound shot also rattled the crossbar, rebounding out to Kyle Nakazawa, who then hit the outside post before the ball was kicked away. Chance Myers also hit the post in the 32nd minute.

    Well-Suited For Starting Lineup -- Sophomore midfielder/defender Danny Suits earned his first career start on Sept. 1 at Indiana and played well enough to get a second start at Creighton. Suits played in just seven games a year ago and had a high of 31 minutes played against San Diego. This year, he played 85 minutes at Creighton and 74 at Indiana.

    Blogging With The Bruins -- Get a behind-the-scenes look at UCLA soccer through the eyes of Bruin players Kyle Nakazawa and Tony Beltran. Nakazawa, a sophomore midfielder, is contributing to the 100 Percent Soccer blog at the Daily Breeze website, while Beltran, a junior midfielder/defender will be blogging for

    In Memory Of Dennis Storer -- Dennis Storer, UCLA's first varsity soccer coach and long-time rugby coach, passed away at his home on Sept. 8 after battling cancer. He was 75 years old. Storer, who was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006, was UCLA's first head coach at the NCAA level and led his team to a remarkable 103-10-10 record from 1967-73. Although his teams did not field any scholarship players, the Bruins had three NCAA runner-up finishes, three West Coast Championships and five All Cal titles. In rugby, Storer's teams compiled an outstanding 362-46-2 record against collegiate, major club and international teams during the period of 1966-82 and won National Championships in 1968, 1972 and 1975. While at UCLA, Storer also served as U.S. National Team coach in rugby from 1976-82. Prior to Friday's game against Ohio State, UCLA will observe a moment of silence for the late coach.

    Zaher, Estrada, Perk Named To Pre-Season All-America Teams -- Three Bruins have been selected to various pre-season All-America teams. Senior defender Mike Zaher was named a third-team pre-season All-American by College Soccer News. Last season, Zaher was a first-team All-Pac-10 and third-team NSCAA All-Far West selection. Sophomore forward David Estrada earned pre-season acclaim from MLS Magazine a year after being named Soccer America's Freshman of the Year and scoring 12 goals and 28 points. Sophomore goalkeeper Brian Perk received pre-season honors from Soccer America despite making just seven starts last year. Perk showed tremendous promise in his limited action, going 3-1-3 and making nine saves in the win at UC Santa Barbara. He had an emergency start in the Round of 16 at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup and made seven saves to help the U.S. defeat Uruguay and advance to the quarterfinals.

    Bruins Go International In Off-Season -- Several members of the UCLA squad spent their summer representing the U.S. in international tournaments. Junior midfielder Tony Beltran and sophomore goalkeeper Brian Perk, along with former Bruin Sal Zizzo, helped lead the U.S. to the quarterfinals of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Canada and posted big wins over Brazil, Poland and Uruguay. Beltran had the game-tying assist in the 6-1 win over Poland, and Perk came up big with seven saves in the 2-1 overtime win over Uruguay in the round of 16. In addition, senior defender Greg Folk, sophomore defender Chance Myers and sophomore midfielder Michael Stephens played for the U.S. at the Pan American Games in Brazil. Folk was the team captain, and Myers and Stephens started in all three games for the U.S. In August, Perk and Stephens traveled to Japan with the U.S. Under-18 National Team for the SBS Cup.

    UCLA Selected No. 1 In Pac-10 Pre-Season Poll -- For the sixth consecutive season, UCLA has been picked to win the Pac-10 men's soccer title by the league's coaches. Defending Pac-10 champion California finished in a second-place tie with the Washington Huskies in the poll, three points behind UCLA. Rounding out the poll are Stanford, San Diego State and Oregon State.

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