UCLA Travels East For Games At Maryland, Georgetown
Sept. 2, 2009
This Week -- UCLA opens the 2009 regular season at defending NCAA champion Maryland on Friday, Sept. 4 at 8 pm ET on Ludwig Field. This is the second season in a row the Bruins will face the defending NCAA champions on the road (UCLA played at 2007 NCAA champion Wake Forest last year). UCLA is ranked No. 19 by the NSCAA and No. 9 by Soccer America, while Maryland ranks No. 1 in the NSCAA poll and No. 8 in the Soccer America poll. Two days later on Sunday, Sept. 6, UCLA will head to Washington D.C. to face Georgetown at 2:30 pm ET on North Kehoe Field.
Live Coverage -- The UCLA-Maryland game will be radio broadcast at WMUCSports.com, and the UCLA-Georgetown game will be webcast at GUHoyas.com. In addition, Gametracker live stats will be available for both of UCLA's games this weekend.
In The Rankings -- In the preseason rankings, UCLA is ranked No. 9 by Soccer America, No. 17 by College Soccer News, No. 18 by Soccer Times, No. 19 by the NSCAA/adidas and No. 20 by Top Drawer Soccer. Maryland is ranked No. 1 by the NSCAA/adidas, No. 2 by Top Drawer Soccer and Soccer Times, No. 5 by College Soccer News, and No. 8 by Soccer America. Georgetown is ranked No. 33 by Top Drawer Soccer.
Scouting The Terrapins -- Maryland went 1-0-1 in exhibition play, tying American, 1-1, and defeating Villanova, 1-0. The Terrapins return five starters from last season's NCAA Championship squad, including All-ACC sophomores Zac McMath, Casey Townsend and Matt Kassel. However, they also lost all four starting defenders. Last season, Maryland set school records with 23 wins and 15 shutouts and ended the year on a 16-game winning streak.
The Series With Maryland -- Maryland holds a 4-2 advantage over UCLA and won the last two meetings, including last year's season opener for both teams, 2-1 in overtime at the Home Depot Center. In that game, UCLA led 1-0 heading into the final minute of regulation, but the Terrapins sent the game into overtime with a goal by Sean Flatley with 45 seconds left to play. Rodney Wallace scored the game-winner in overtime in the 97th minute. The two teams last met in Maryland in 2006, with the Terrapins winning, 4-1, in a game that was postponed a day due to inclement weather. UCLA's last win over Maryland came in 2005, 4-0, in Los Angeles.
The Series With Georgetown -- This is the first meeting between UCLA and Georgetown.
Scouting The Hoyas -- Georgetown opened its season on Tuesday with a scoreless draw at Adelphi and will host California on Friday before welcoming the Bruins to town on Sunday. The Hoyas went 11-5-3 last season and return eight starters, including NSCAA All-Region defender Len Coleman.
Bruins In Season Openers -- UCLA is 32-6-4 all-time in season openers since beginning NCAA play in 1967 but has not won a season opener since 2004.
Homecoming For Lapnet -- Sophomore Prince Lapnet will be returning to his home state this weekend. The forward from Silver Spring, Md. attended Archbishop Carroll HS and was the WCAC Player of the Year in 2007 after scoring 30 goals with 10 assists. He played club soccer with DC United's Academy team and with the Bethesda Mavericks.
UCLA-Georgetown Connection -- Former UCLA soccer player Brian Foote is in his first year as a volunteer assistant coach with Georgetown. Foote played at UCLA from 1999-2000 and was a member of the Bruins' 1999 College Cup team. In 2000, he was chosen by his teammates for the team's Most Inspirational Award.
Exhibition Wrapup -- UCLA went 1-0-1 in exhibition play, scoring a 2-0 win over CSU Bakersfield on Aug. 23 and rallying to tie UC Irvine, 1-1, on Aug. 29. In the exhibition opener, 28 players saw action, with goals being scored by senior Kyle Nakazawa and freshman Dakota Collins. Another freshman scored the team's only goal in the game against UC Irvine, with Evan Raynr tying the game in the 84th minute. The following players started in both exhibition games: Brian Perk, Andy Rose, Sean Alvarado, Kyle Nakazawa, Amobi Okugo, Luis Serrano, David Estrada, Danny Suits and Michael Stephens.
Senior Leadership -- For the first time in Jorge Salcedo's tenure as head coach, the Bruins can truly call themselves a veteran team, with a substantially large senior class of eight, the largest senior class at UCLA since 2003. Leading the way are six returning senior starters - midfielder Michael Stephens, goalkeeper Brian Perk, midfielder Kyle Nakazawa, forward David Estrada, and defenders Danny Suits and Luis Serrano - as well as defender Sean Alvarado and midfielder Andrew Sinderhoff. Stephens is the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year, while Perk, Estrada and Suits were all-conference selections. Nakazawa was a preseason All-America selection before injuries limited him to just 10 games last season. Seven seniors started in both of UCLA's exhibition games - Stephens, Perk, Nakazawa, Estrada, Suits, Serrano and Alvarado.
Perk, Stephens To Join U.S. Team At FIFA U-20 World Cup -- Seniors Brian Perk and Michael Stephens were selected to the final 21-man roster that will represent the U.S. at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt from Sept. 24-Oct. 16. UCLA ranks first (tied with Notre Dame) amongst collegiate squads with two players on the team. This will be Perk's second U-20 World Cup. He was a backup in 2007 and earned a Round of 16 win against Uruguay that sent the U.S. to the quarterfinals. This year for the U-20s, he has allowed just one goal in seven international games for a 0.14 goals against average and six shutouts. Stephens is one of four players on the final squad who did not participate in CONCACAF qualifying. He impressed in his summer showings with the U-20s, scoring a goal in consecutive games against Costa Rica in May. He previously played with the U.S. at the 2007 Pan American Games. The U.S. team leaves for training on Sept. 14. Group play ends on Oct. 2. If the U.S. advances out of its group, it would continue playing until as late as Oct. 16.
Preseason Honors -- Senior midfielders Michael Stephens and Kyle Nakazawa were named to the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List. Soccer America named Stephens and Brian Perk preseason All-Americans (Stephens 1st team, Perk 2nd team), and College Soccer News picked Stephens as a first-team preseason All-American. Stephens is the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year and a member of Soccer America's 2008 MVPs Second Team. Last season, he led the Pac-10 in points scored (23) and tied for the league lead in assists with nine, including a school record tying four at San Diego State. Nakazawa, a midfielder from Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., was also on the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Watch List a year ago but had his 2008 season cut short due to injuries, playing in 10 games yet still ranking fourth on the team in assists with four. Nakazawa was UCLA's Team MVP in 2007 and was selected to Soccer America's All-Freshman team in 2006. Perk was a second-team All-Pac-10 honoree last season after posting a 0.45 goals against average and five shutouts in nine conference games.
Fresh Faces -- A year after bringing in 12 new players, the Bruins welcome eight new faces to the squad in the form of seven freshmen and a junior walk-on. This year's freshman class was rated the No. 3 recruiting class in the nation by both Soccer America and College Soccer News. Leading the class is Top Drawer Soccer's No. 1 recruit in the nation, Amobi Okugo, who is also a member of the U.S. Under-20 and Under-18 National Teams. Also joining the Bruins are U.S. Under-18 National Team player Michael Roman and ESPN/Rise All-Americans Dakota Collins, Chandler Hoffman and Evan Raynr. Three of the freshmen (Collins, Hoffman and Okugo) were singled out as '100 Freshmen To Keep An Eye On' by College Soccer News.
Off-Season Happenings -- Bruin players were busy in the off-season, with Brian Perk and Michael Stephens seeing regular action with the U.S. Under-20 National Team. Perk has been dominant as the starting goalkeeper on the Under-20 National Team, posting seven shutouts in eight games, with a 0.12 goals against average in 2009. Stephens has seen action in four games this year and scored two goals. Both players traveled to Egypt and Argentina this summer with the U.S. team.
Freshman Amobi Okugo traveled to Northern Ireland with the U.S. Under-18 National Team to participate in the Milk Cup and also played with the U-18s in the Lisbon International Tournament in Portugal.
Sophomore Eder Arreola led the Cherif Zein Elite 17-under boys' soccer team to the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship in late July, scoring the game-winning goal in a 3-2 victory over North Carolina's Triangle United to help his team capture the Don Greer Cup. Arreola's goal in the 26th minute gave his squad a 3-0 lead, and CZ Elite held on for the 3-2 win. Arreola dominated in the tournament, leading all goal scorers with five goals.
Looking Ahead -- UCLA will face UC Davis in the Bruins' home opener on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 7 pm.