UCLA Hosts UC Santa Barbara, San Diego State

Sept. 29, 2008

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This Week -- The UCLA men's soccer team (2-3-3 and riding a three-game unbeaten streak) will play two home games this week, hosting 16th-ranked UC Santa Barbara (5-3-0) on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 7 pm and beginning Pac-10 Conference play against San Diego State (2-5-0) on Sunday, Oct. 5 at 2:30 pm. Both games will be held at Marshall Field at Drake Stadium.

Tickets -- Tickets 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 and a free audio broadcast will be available for both games this week at UCLABruins.com.

Rematch! -- Wednesday's game against UC Santa Barbara will mark the first time the Bruins and Gauchos have met since the 2006 NCAA Championship game, which UCSB won, 2-1. Several players from both teams still remain, including 2006 Bruin starters Jason Leopoldo, Brad Rusin, Michael Stephens and David Estrada. Leopoldo scored the Bruins' goal in that match.

Scouting The Gauchos -- UCSB is coming off a 2-1 road win over 10th-ranked Indiana and holds a 5-3-0 overall record. The Gauchos' only goal was allowed in the final two minutes while they were playing a man down. Starting forward David Walker was red-carded in the second half and will be forced to sit out Wednesday's game. Senior Chris Pontius leads the team with seven goals.

UCLA's History With UCSB -- UCLA leads the all-time series with UCSB, 30-3-1. The teams met twice in 2006, with UCLA winning the regular-season matchup, 3-1, in Santa Barbara, and the Gauchos winning in the NCAA Tournament, 2-1. In the regular season game, Michael Stephens put UCLA ahead 1-0 at the 1:00 mark with his first career goal. UCSB tied in the 25th minute, but a Jason Leopoldo goal with 45 seconds remaining in the half put UCLA ahead to stay. UCSB was forced to play a man down for the final 35 minutes due to a second yellow card to Greg Curry, and David Estrada put the game away in the 88th minute with a sharp-angled goal. Brian Perk saved a career-best nine saves on 16 UCSB shots. The last matchup between the two team in Los Angeles occurred on Oct. 20, 2005. UCLA won 1-0 on a Brad Rusin goal in the third minute.

Scouting The Aztecs -- San Diego State enters the game with a 2-5-0 mark and losses in its last three games. Daniel Steres leads the team in scoring with three goals and two assists, followed closely by Evan Toft with two goals and three assists. The Aztecs have split goalkeeping duties amongst three players, with Morgan Maestas getting the nod in the last two games. Maestas leads the Pac-10 in save percentage (.850) and saves per game (4.25).

UCLA's History With SDSU -- UCLA is 27-4-8 all-time against San Diego State. The two teams have tied the last three times they have faced each other at Drake Stadium - 1-1 in 2007 and 2006 and 0-0 in 2005. San Diego won the season series last season, 1-0-1, claiming a 1-0 win in San Diego on an 85th minute goal by Khadim Diouf. UCLA's last victory over the Aztecs came in San Diego in 2006, 2-1, after a David Estrada goal and an own goal.

Bruins All Tied Up -- UCLA posted a pair of ties last week, tying San Diego on the road, 1-1, and Cal State Northridge at home, 2-2. Michael Stephens scored two of the Bruins' three goals on the week, including the lone goal in the San Diego game and the tying goal in the 85th minute against Northridge. The Bruins came from behind twice against the Matadors, with Jason Leopoldo erasing a 1-0 deficit in the 71st minute and Stephens bringing the Bruins back from the verge of defeat to send the game into overtime.

Deceiving Record -- The Bruins' record of 2-3-3 is deceiving, as all three of UCLA's losses have come against Top 20 opponents in top-ranked and defending NCAA champion Wake Forest, current No. 5 Maryland and current No. 17 Indiana.

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.

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.

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.

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 has pitted 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.

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