UCLA Plays At San Diego Thursday, Hosts Cal State Northridge Sunday

Sept. 23, 2008

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This Week -- The UCLA men's soccer team (2-3-1) will play twice this week, traveling to San Diego (0-5-2) on Thursday, Sept. 25 at 7 pm and hosting Cal State Northridge (4-3-0) on Sunday, Sept. 28 at Drake Stadium at 2:30 pm.

Tickets -- Tickets for Sunday's game can be purchased at the gate for $7 (adults)/$5 (students/youth). UCLA students are admitted free with valid student ID.

Live Coverage -- Gametracker live stats will be available for both games this week at UCLABruins.com. Sunday's home match will also be audio broadcast for free at UCLABruins.com.

Scouting The Toreros -- San Diego is still seeking its first win of the season, starting out 0-5-2. However, four of the Toreros' five losses have been by one goal, including a 2-1 overtime loss to No. 23 UC Davis, a 2-1 loss to No. 19 Indiana at UCLA on Sept. 14 and a 2-1 loss to No. 10 New Mexico on Aug. 31. Junior forward JT Howlan leads the team in scoring with two goals and four points.

UCLA's History With San Diego -- UCLA leads the all-time series with San Diego, 18-5-3, and has won the last two meetings - a 1-0 home win in 2007 and a 3-1 home win in 2006. The Bruins have struggled in recent years at Torero Stadium, going 1-3-1 there since 2000. The Bruins lost the last meeting in San Diego, 4-2, in 2005 and tied 2-2 in 2003. The tie in 2003 broke UCLA's 15-game winning streak and six-game shutout streak. UCLA's last win in Torero Stadium came in 2001, a 4-0 win over the Toreros in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Scouting The Matadors -- Cal State Northridge is coming off a 2-1 win over previously-undefeated Sacramento State on Sunday. The Matadors scored the game-winning goal in the 89th minute. Moy Gomez leads the team with three goals and six points.

UCLA's History With Northridge -- The Matadors picked up their first-ever win in the series last season, a 3-0 victory at home on Sept. 29. The Bruins lead the overall series, 12-1-2, but have not won since a 3-1 home win in 2004.

Bruins Shut Out Broncos, 2-0 -- UCLA shut out Santa Clara 2-0 on Sept. 20 to win for the first time in four games. Senior forward Maxwell Griffin scored the game's first goal in the 14th minute, and Santa Clara had an own goal early in the second half to give UCLA a 2-0 lead. Senior midfielder Jason Leopoldo set up both goals, chipping a pass to Griffin in the box on the first goal and playing the ball that was cleared out by a Santa Clara defender off the post and into the goal. Goalkeeper Brian Perk recorded his second shutout of the season and had four saves.

Deceiving Record -- The Bruins' record of 2-3-1 is deceiving, as the team has played four out of six games against ranked opponents. In fact, all of UCLA's non-wins have come against Top 20 teams, including top-ranked and defending NCAA champion Wake Forest, current No. 3 Maryland and current No. 10 Indiana.

September Scorer -- September has traditionally been a good month for senior forward Maxwell Griffin. Twelve of his 21 career goals have come in the month of September, and he still has two more games to play this month to increase that total.

First-Timers -- Seeing their first NCAA Division I action on opening day against Maryland were starters Eder Arreola, Christian Vazquez, Chris Cummings and Luis Serrano and reserves Fernando Monge and Prince Lapnet. Other Bruin freshmen made their collegiate debuts two days later against UC Riverside - Oscar Reyes, Zack Zerrenner and Andy Rose. Monge and Lapnet made their first career starts at Wake Forest, and Zerrenner and Rose started for the first time against North Carolina.

Griffin Nominated For Lowe's Senior CLASS Award -- UCLA forward Maxwell Griffin is amongst 30 players nominated for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for men's soccer. The award is presented annually in nine NCAA Division I sports to a senior who excels both on and off the field. The areas of excellence are identified under classroom, community, character and competition. Griffin is a top student-athlete, earning Pac-10 All-Academic honors and boasting a cumulative GPA over 3.0. He has been active in the community, particularly with youth mentorship programs. He is an avid volunteer of The Mentorship Program at UCLA, which pairs UCLA students with underprivileged children from North Hollywood. He is also a member of the UCLA Bruin Buddy Volunteer Program, showing hopeful high school students what it is like to be a student at UCLA. On the soccer field, Griffin has been one of UCLA's most consistent goal scorers. During his sophomore season, he was leading the team in scoring with five goals before suffering a season-ending knee injury in the eighth game of the season. He came back in 2007 to lead the team again with nine goals and 18 points, and he is currently the team leader once again with three goals and eight points.

Nakazawa Named To M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List -- Junior midfielder Kyle Nakazawa was named to the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List. Nakazawa, UCLA's 2007 Team MVP, has started 50 games in his career and compiled a total of seven goals and 17 assists. In 2007, he led the Bruins with seven assists and was second on the team in scoring with 13 points and two game-winning goals, both of which were scored in the final two minutes of the game, at Washington and against New Mexico in the NCAA first round. Nakazawa was a second-team All-Pac-10 selection in 2007 and a Soccer America All-Freshman honoree in 2006. The former youth international totaled 21 career caps with the U.S. Under-17 National Team and was a starter on the U-17 team that placed fifth at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championships. Nakazawa was also named to Soccer America's Pre-Season All-America first team.

Fresh Faces -- UCLA enters the season with 12 new players, including 11 true freshmen. The freshman class was rated the No. 9 recruiting class in the nation by College Soccer News and includes four players with U.S. Youth National Team experience - Eder Arreola, Chris Cummings, Oscar Reyes and Victor Yanez. In Bristol, England's Andy Rose, the Bruins have their first foreign player since Martin Bruno of Copenhagen, Denmark, by way of Terra Linda HS in the Bay Area, played on the team from 1996-99. The last UCLA player to come from a foreign school was Canadian Brad McAdams back in 1987.

Returning Starters -- The Bruins brought back eight players who started 12 or more games in 2007. Kyle Nakazawa started all 21 games, while Michael Stephens and Brian Perk started 20 apiece. Brad Rusin had 19 starts, Jason Leopoldo totaled 16, and Maxwell Griffin, David Estrada and Danny Suits had 12 each.

Off-Season Happenings -- Bruin players were busy in the off-season, with Brian Perk and Eder Arreola seeing regular action with the U.S. National Teams. The two played together on the Under-20 National Team in a friendly against Mexico in July. Perk earned the shutout, and Arreola came off the bench and played 11 minutes. Perk also joined the U-20s at the Milk Cup in Ireland in early August and shut out Belgium, 2-0, in the team's final game. Arreola also played with the U-18s at the Lisbon Tournament in May. Junior midfielder Michael Stephens helped the Chicago Fire Super-20 team capture the North American National Championship in August, assisting on the game-winning goal in the semifinals.

Bruins Playing Five Of Last Six NCAA Champions -- UCLA's 2008 schedule will pit the Bruins against five of the last six NCAA champions. UCLA opened with four of its first five games against prior champions - Maryland (2005), Wake Forest (2007), North Carolina (2001), and Indiana (2003, 2004). On Oct. 1, the Bruins will host 2006 champion UC Santa Barbara. The only two championship teams from this decade that UCLA will not face are itself (2002 champions) and 2000 champion Connecticut.

Alumni Game Scheduled For Oct. 19 -- All UCLA Soccer alumni are invited to participate in the annual alumni game, which is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 19 at 9:30 am on the North Athletic Field. A reception will take place at Noon under the scoreboard at Drake Stadium, and following the 1 pm UCLA-Oregon State game, a postgame social will be held at the J.D. Morgan Center Press Room. To RSVP, visit the UCLA soccer website and click on the 2008 Alumni Game button on the left-hand side.

Looking Ahead -- The Bruins play UC Santa Barbara for the first time since the 2006 NCAA Championship match on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at Drake Stadium. Game time is scheduled for 7 pm. Conference play begins on Sunday, Oct. 5 with a home game against San Diego State at 2:30 pm.