Bruins Drop Opener to Lipscomb, 2-1
LOS ANGELES – The UCLA men's soccer team suffered a 2-1 setback to Lipscomb in Thursday night's regular season-opening contest at Wallis Annenberg Stadium, with the visiting Bisons potting the go-ahead goal with fewer than eight minutes remaining in the game.
The Bruins (0-1) fell behind after an early goal by Lipscomb, but rallied to tie the game in the 33rd minute on a picturesque goal from redshirt freshman midfielder Tucker Lepley. UCLA continued to create chances – and looked like it had a go-ahead goal in the 72nd minute until an offside call – but saw the Bisons go ahead for good on a marker from Hayes Wood at the 82:59 mark.
"Sometimes football is a funny game – you can dictate everything in the game and have a couple moments where you have something bounce in a way that's a little random, and you can concede a goal out of something that wasn't very dangerous, we may have had one of those tonight," said UCLA head coach Ryan Jorden. "So our job is to try and eliminate those opportunities. I think overall I was really pleased with the ideas we had tonight, we've just got to be a bit sharper in trying to execute some of the things we want to do."
Lipscomb took an early lead on a bit of an odd play. At the 3:20 mark, Tyrese Spicer took a close-range shot that was blocked by UCLA keeper Justin Garces. Lipscomb's Burl Shepherd took a shot off the rebound that was partially blocked by Garces, the ball then rolled off Garces and appeared to hit the right post and go out, but it was deemed to have crossed the goal line for the opening tally.
The Bruins started to get things humming around the 30-minute mark, resulting in a solid look from Jose Sosa in the 31st minute. About two minutes later, Lepley found the back of the net to get the Bruins level.
Graduate midfielder Yoni Sorokin set up the goal, playing a ball laterally from above the box to Lepley. With a defender closing to break up the pass, Lepley moved towards the ball and took a dynamic first touch to move into the box, took another touch to get the ball back on his right foot, then beat the keeper low to the far post.
It was the first career goal for Lepley, who was making his Division I debut after redshirting during the spring season.
— UCLA Men's Soccer (@UCLAMSoccer) August 27, 2021
A solid second half was highlighted by a pair of back-to-back opportunities around the 72nd minute, both involving redshirt freshman forward Jose Contell.
First, a loose ball of a set piece found Contell near goal to the keeper's left and the Valencia, Spain native was able to poke it in for a would-be go-ahead goal, but the play was whistled for an offside violation. Moments later, a UCLA interception in the offensive third led to a ball being played to the top of the box for Contell, who slid to first-time the ball but saw his shot go just over the bar.
Lipscomb notched the game-winning goal about 10 minutes later on a strong individual effort from Wood. A long ball over the top caromed to Wood atop the 18, and a clever turn enabled him to get off a strong shot on net. His initial drive was blocked by freshman defender Pietro Grassi, but in the ensuing chaos Wood was able to pounce on the loose ball just above the six and put it in the net.
UCLA – which opens the season playing seven of eight games at home – returns to action on Sunday afternoon against San Francisco. The contest is scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m. and will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.