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UCLA Takes Down Top-Ranked Oregon State, 3-2

Nov 7, 2021
Constantinos Michaelides (photo: Eric Hurd)

LOS ANGELES – Behind a brace from junior winger Constantinos Michaelides and a clutch 83rd minute score from senior forward Kevin Diaz, the UCLA men's soccer team recorded a 3-2 victory over No. 1 Oregon State on Sunday afternoon at Wallis Annenberg Stadium.

This is the second time that the Bruins (9-6-1, 4-4-1 Pac-12) have defeated a top-ranked team under third-year head coach Ryan Jorden, as UCLA previously downed then-No. 1 Maryland on Sept. 6, 2019.

After a scoreless first half that featured long spells of possession for both teams but few quality scoring chances, the Bruins hit the accelerator coming out of the halftime break resulting in goals from Michaelides in the 47th and 59th minutes.

OSU pulled a goal back in the 65th minute to make it a one-goal game again, but Diaz found the back of the net in the 83rd minute to provide key insurance for the Bruins. OSU scored off a corner with less than two minutes remaining for the game's final goal.

Oregon State dropped to 12-2-2, 7-1-1 with the result, and was denied from clinching its first-ever outright Pac-12 title.

"At halftime, we just went back and said 'look, we just want to reiterate and go back to what we were doing initially," said Jorden. "I thought out of the gate we did a good job. We were moving the ball with tempo, and the first goal comes because we had a tempo in the play we were doing. We had a freshness coming out of halftime, and played fast enough to be able to break a very organized and top team down."

Michaelides's first goal came just over a minute into the start of the second half. Junior midfielder Riley Ferch started the goal-scoring play by playing a ball down the left side of the box for sophomore Tommy Silva, who slid to cross the ball back towards the center of the box. Just below the penalty spot, Michaelides met the ball and – despite the pass being behind him – was able to put an athletic first-time shot on it and sneak it inside the top of the near post.

Just over 12 minutes later, Michaelides hit pay dirt again to log his first-career multi-goal game.

Senior midfielder Andrew Paoli started the goal-scoring sequence this time, faking out a defender while advancing into the offensive third before playing a ball down the right wing for freshman forward Jose Contell. After a couple touches, Contell threaded a pass to Michaelides at the top of the box. An expert first touch allowed Michaelides to quickly get the ball on his left foot and get off a strike before a trio of defenders closed on him, and he beat OSU keeper Adrian Fernandez inside the left post to make it 2-0.

With OSU pushing forward in the final portion of the game, UCLA was able to take advantage in the 83rd minute for the eventual game-winning goal. After a turnover led to possession for the Bruins, freshman midfielder Tucker Lepley streaked downfield and sent a pass down the left side. From there, a more-central Tommy Silva let the ball go to Diaz further on the flank, and Diaz was able to freeze the charging Fernandez beating him near-post with a left-footed strike to make it 3-1.

Freshman goalie Nate Crockford made his NCAA debut in contest, starting in net and making a pair of saves, both of the highlight-reel variety.

UCLA's seven seniors – Yoni Sorkin, Justin Garces, AJ Vasquez, Paoli, Diaz, Ahmed Longmire, and Ben Reveno – were all honored during a halftime ceremony.

The Bruins conclude their regular season schedule on Friday, traveling south to take on San Diego State in a 7:00 p.m. matchup at the SDSU Sports Deck. The contest will be streamed live by the Aztecs.