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Lepley Leads Bruins to Golden Goal Win Over SDSU

Oct 8, 2021
Tucker Lepley (photo: Scott Chandler)

LOS ANGELES – Redshirt freshman midfielder Tucker Lepley found the back of the net eight minutes into overtime to break a scoreless tie and hand the UCLA men's soccer team a 1-0 victory over San Diego State on Friday night at Wallis Annenberg Stadium.

It was the second overtime game of the year for the Bruins (7-4-0, 3-2-0 Pac-12), who improved to 6-2 on the season in home games. UCLA largely out-chanced the Aztecs (6-3-2, 2-3-0), outshooting the visitors 16-6 overall including a 12-3 advantage from the start of the second half through the end of the game.

The overtime session was all UCLA, with the Bruins monopolizing both possession and scoring chances.

The decisive score came in the 98th minute and came as a result of the Bruins hemming in the Aztecs deep in their own zone and continuing to press. With SDSU trying to pass its way out of danger near their defensive box, freshman forward Jose Contell slid in and knocked the ball loose with a tackle.

The ball came to junior midfielder Riley Ferch just a few feet away, and Ferch took advantage of the turnover by quickly playing a ball down the left side of the box for Lepley, who one-timed a low left-footed shot past SDSU keeper Jacob Castro, who had turned away several Grade-A opportunities for the Bruins earlier in the game.

The goal was Lepley's fourth of the year, moving him into a three-way tie for the team lead alongside Kevin Diaz and Tommy Silva. It was the second consecutive game that Contell created a goal with a sliding tackle off the press, with his challenge against Washington last Sunday leading to a tap-in goal for Diaz.

UCLA had a pair of near-goals earlier in overtime, with Castro coming up with quick-twitch stops of close-range efforts from Pietro Grassi in the 94th minute and Contell in the 97th minute.

SDSU's best opportunity to score by far came early on, with Donovan Roux hitting a hard but sharp-angle shot in the fourth minute that required a save from UCLA keeper Justin Garces. Inigo Villaldea had a chance at a semi-open net off the rebound of that attempt, but his shot went wide.

The Aztecs were held without a high-danger chance for the rest of the game, with Garces needing to make just two more saves – both of them relatively undemanding – the rest of the way.

UCLA had the better of the scoring opportunities in the first half after SDSU's early look, as the Bruins had a goal-bound header cleared off the line in the 17th minute before Constantinos Michaelides was stopped on a partial 1-v-1 in the 39th minute.

The Bruins return to action on Thursday, Oct. 14 at 7:00 p.m., hosting local rival Loyola Marymount in a non-conference tilt at Wallis Annenberg Stadium.