Griffin's Hat Trick Helps UCLA Down Penn State, 4-1
Sept. 16, 2007
Los Angeles, CA - Junior forward Maxwell Griffin celebrated his 20th birthday a day early, recording a hat trick in UCLA's 4-1 win over Penn State on Sunday afternoon at the North Athletic Field. Senior defender Mike Zaher also scored a goal in the victory.
For the second-straight game, the Bruins got on the scoreboard early. Just 6:30 into the game, Kyle Nakazawa took a short corner kick that he played to Zaher at the upper right corner of the box. Zaher blasted a shot past Penn State goalkeeper Conrad Taylor for his first goal of the year.
Penn State nearly tied the score in the 15th minute, but a shot by Jason Yeisley in front of the box went wide left. The Nittany Lions' Frank Costigliola also had an opportunity in the 22nd minute when he attempted to chip the ball over Bruin goalkeeper Brian Perk. Costigliola did not get enough on the ball, and UCLA's James Jaramillo easily tracked it down and ushered the ball out for a goal kick. Costigliola had a better scoring chance at 41:00 when he had a 1v1 opportunity, but his hard shot was smothered by Perk.
The Bruins doubled their score at 54:08. Chance Myers started the play with a pass to Michael Stephens, who sent a through ball to Nakazawa. Nakazawa beat the defenders, but his shot was saved by Taylor. Griffin collected the rebound and put the ball away for his first goal of the day.
The Nittany Lions closed to within one at 63:12 on a shot from the top of the box by Costigliola and nearly tied it in the 70th minute with a curling shot by Andy Machi that went just high and wide right. But UCLA broke through with a third goal at 76:18. Zaher contorted himself to send a pass to Jason Leopoldo, who raced down the left sideline. Leopoldo then crossed to Griffin, who shot far post from five yards out to add some breathing room.
At 81:22, Griffin nearly got the hat trick but was stuffed on a breakaway, but he would not be denied on his next opportunity just seconds later. At 81:43, he dribbled around Taylor on the right side and scored an empty net goal for his the first hat trick by a UCLA player since Matt Taylor recorded one on Sept. 14, 2003.
The 10th-ranked Bruins improve their record to 2-2-1, while Penn State drops to 2-4-0.
In the earlier match-up at Drake Stadium, 12th-ranked Ohio State defeated Cal State Fullerton, 6-1. Six different players scored for the Buckeyes, who led 4-1 at the half.