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UCLA Defeats Cal, 2-1

Sep 19, 2021
Tucker Lepley (photo: Don Liebig)

LOS ANGELES – The UCLA men's soccer team completed an unbeaten opening weekend of Pac-12 play after downing California by a score of 2-1 on Sunday evening at Wallis Annenberg Stadium.

The Bruins (5-2-0, 2-0-0) received first-half goals from Tucker Lepley and Tommy Silva then limited the Golden Bears (2-4-1) to one score the rest of the way.

Despite the visitors seeking an equalizer, UCLA dominated the ball in the second half, outshooting Cal 11-1. The Bruins had a 16-4 shots advantage overall in the contest.

Paired with Thursday's 2-0 victory over No. 14 Stanford, UCLA has swept its home weekend against the Bay Area Pac-12 teams for the first time since 2011.

"I'm proud of the work the guys put in on a Sunday," said UCLA head coach Ryan Jorden. "Playing games on Thursday and Sunday is hard physically. I thought the guys put a lot of work in, and our concentration in executing some things that kept us in control was good. We still have some areas we can continue to improve on, and we've got to go back to work and get better in those areas. I think the guys have continued to try and get better all the time, and I'm pleased about that showing up."

Lepley opened the scoring in the 21st minute with just the second shot of the game.

The tally came as a result of a miscue off a goal kick by Cal, with a short pass from the keeper ending up instead with Grayson Doody on UCLA's offensive right wing. From there, Doody found an open Riley Ferch inside the box, but Ferch dummied the incoming pass and let it go to a charging Lepley, who hammered in a left-footed shot from a couple yards above the penalty spot. It was Lepley's second goal of the year, following his debut Division I score in the season-opener against Lipscomb.

Cal had a chance to answer in the 28th minute, but Wyatt Meyer's shot from the top of the box instead ricocheted off the post and out.

The two teams would go on to trade goals in the late portions of the second half.

Silva produced what turned out to be the game-winner with a spectacular right-footed (his off foot) strike following a solid period of possession for the Bruins. That build-up led to Silva playing a vertical pass to senior forward Kevin Diaz above the 18. Diaz volleyed the pass back to Silva on the 1-2, and with defenders to his left, Silva instead took a touch to his right and perfectly curled a 20-yard shot into the upper right corner of the net past the outstretched arms of Cal keeper Collin Travasos.  

With the goal, his fourth of the year, Silva has notched the game-winner in both of his career games against Cal at Wallis Annenberg Stadium. He previously scored a golden goal in the 2021 spring season finale.

Cal's Shoei Honda made it a one-goal game with a turn-and-strike effort in the 43rd minute, but UCLA held the Golden Bears without a high-danger chance for the entirety of the second half. Cal ultimately put just one attempt towards goal, a 70th minute shot from Alonzo Del Mundo that was easily stopped by UCLA keeper Justin Garces.

The Bruins had some chances to add to the lead in the second half – particularly on a pair of looks from freshman forward Jose Contell and a long-range shot at the empty net in the dying seconds of the game that went wide.

UCLA has just one game on the schedule for this upcoming week, a non-conference home tilt against UC Riverside on Saturday, Sept. 25 starting at 7:00 p.m.