UCLA Set to Host UCSB in NCAA First Round Game
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UCLA Returns to Postseason, Hosts UC Santa Barbara in First Round Tilt
The UCLA men's soccer team is set to make its return to postseason action this week, hosting Big West champion UC Santa Barbara in an NCAA first round game at Wallis Annenberg Stadium on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. PT. The contest will be streamed live on Pac-12 Plus. Fans can also follow along with live stats on uclalivestats.com and live updates via the team Twitter account, @UCLAMSoccer.
- UCLA went 10-6-1 in the regular season, including a 7-4-1 mark over the final 12 games of the year
- The Bruins have a pair of three-game winning streaks this season
- For the season, UCLA is outscoring its opponents 30-22 and outshooting them 180-164
- 13 of UCLA's 17 games this season have been decided by one goal or fewer, including nine of the last 11
- The Bruins are 9-2-1 when scoring first, and 1-4-0 when the opponent scores first
The Bruins posted an 8-3-0 record in home games during the regular season, good for a .727 winning percentage. UCLA last posted a home winning percentage north of 60% in 2015 (9-3-0, .750). The Bruins last hosted a postseason game in 2016.
Bruins in the NCAA Postseason
- UCLA earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament after going 10-6-1 overall and finishing third in the Pac-12
- This is UCLA's 46th appearance in the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Tournament, and first since 2018
- UCLA is tied with Indiana for the second-most NCAA Tournament appearances of any school (St. Louis: 49)
- The Bruins qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 34 consecutive seasons from from 1983-2016
- UCLA is 14-6 all-time in first round games, including a 4-1 mark in its last five such matchups
- The Bruins have won four national championships in program history: 1985, 1990, 1997, 2002
The Pac Has Punch
The Pac-12 finished the 2021 regular season with the top conference RPI in the country. UCLA went 5-4-1 in league play and finished third in the league table; it's the first time since 2015 that the Bruins finished above .500 in Pac-12 play or placed top-three in the conference standings.
Taking Down the Top
UCLA's win over No. 1 Oregon State on Nov. 7 represented the the second time under third-year head coach Ryan Jorden that UCLA defeated a top-ranked opponent. Previously, UCLA defeated then-No. 1 and defending champion Maryland by a score of 3-2 at Wallis Annenberg Stadium on Sept. 6, 2019 (UCLA's first-ever home game coached by Jorden). Prior to that, UCLA had most recently beaten No. 1 Akron by a score of 6-1 on Sept. 5, 2016.
Feeling Like A 10
The Bruins' win over SDSU in the regular-season finale was the team's 10th of the year. It marks the 62nd time in program history, and first since 2018, that UCLA reached double-digit wins. Conversely, UCLA can finish with no more than seven losses this year; UCLA has just two double-digit-loss seasons on its ledger since 1937.
Clinical From the Spot
At 2-for-2, UCLA's Yoni Sorokin is the only player in the Pac-12 Conference with multiple PK makes and a 100% conversion rate. Only 19 players nationwide have gone 3-for-3 or better in 2021.
Fair or Foul
Thanks in part to a large advantage in possession numbers, UCLA is committing just 9.35 fouls per game to this point of the season. That figure ranks 11th in the country and is by far the lowest in the Pac-12, with no other league school sitting in the top-35 nationally. Only 23 schools nationwide are averaging single-digit fouls.
In The Polls
UCLA appeared at No. 24 in this week's TopDrawerSoccer poll, and finished the regular season with the No. 25 RPI in the country. The United Soccer Coaches poll hadn't been updated as of Wednesday morning, but UCLA was a season-high No. 22 in their final poll of the regular season. The Bruins were ranked for 10 consecutive weeks in the United Soccer Coaches Far West Region poll, including a season-high No. 3 in last week's rankings (the regional poll also has not been updated).
The Series Against UC Santa Barbara
UCLA owns a 35-6-3 record all-time against the Gauchos, including a 1-1 mark in the postseason. The two schools met each season from 2008-2016, but have since done battle just once (last: Sept. 22, 2018). UCLA is 5-3-1 in its last 10 matchups against UCSB, a stretch that includes the lone on-campus postseason game between the two (UCLA defeated UCSB, 2-1, at Drake Stadium on Nov. 29, 2009 in an NCAA Third Round game). The other postseason matchup was the 2006 NCAA Championship game in St. Louis (UCSB won, 2-1).
Recent History Against UCSB
Here are the last 10 matchups between UCLA and UCSB:
- UCLA 2-2 UCSB - Oct. 1, 2008 at UCLA
- UCLA 2-1 UCSB - Nov. 29, 2009 at UCLA (NCAA Tournament Third Round)
- UCLA 0-2 UCSB - Sept. 24, 2010 at UCSB
- UCLA 3-2 UCSB - Sept. 16, 2011 at UCLA
- UCLA 1-1 UCSB - Sept. 21, 2012 at UCSB
- UCLA 1-0 UCSB - Sept. 13, 2013 at UCLA
- UCLA 1-0 UCSB - Sept. 20, 2014 at UCSB
- UCLA 2-4 UCSB - Sept. 21, 2015 at UCLA
- UCLA 2-1 UCSB (OT) - Sept. 17, 2016 at UCSB
- UCLA 1-3 UCSB - Sept. 22, 2018 at UCSB
On The Mark
So far this season, the Bruins have shown themselves to be adept at getting their shot attempts on target, with 88 of the team's 179 shots going on frame. UCLA's 49% shot accuracy as a team paces the Pac-12 Conference and ranks 11th in the country.
UCLA in the Pac-12 All-Conference Team
The Pac-12 Conference unveiled its 2021 all-conference team on Nov. 16, and the Bruins had seven players represented:
- 2nd Team (4): Justin Garces (GK), Pietro Grassi (D), Tommy Silva (D/F), Yoni Sorokin (MF)
- Honorable Mention (3): Kevin Diaz (F), Aaron Edwards (D), Ahmed Longmire (D)
- UCLA's seven honorees were third-most in the conference, narrowly trailing Oregon State (9) and Washington (8)
Hitting Pay Dirt
UCLA scored multiple goals in four consecutive games before being limited to a single goal at No. 2 Washington on Oct. 3. It was the first time the Bruins scored multiple goals in four consecutive games since Oct. 25 to Nov. 8, 2015. UCLA has scored in all but two games so far this season, and has notched multiple goals in 9-of-17 contests (53%).
Entering the postseason, Tommy Silva leads the team in goals and is tied for the team lead in points (6-4-16). In addition, his four game-winning goals this season pace the Bruins, are tied for the most among any Pac-12 player, and rank 19th nationally. Much of his production has come in bursts, as he has a pair of five-point performances this year (Sept. 6 vs. CSUN, Nov. 12 at SDSU; no other Bruin has a 5-point game this year). The left-side attacker has eight goals and seven assists for 23 points over 29 career games at UCLA.
Brace For Impact
The Bruins have received four braces this year, all coming in wins:
- Tommy Silva vs. CSUN - Sept. 6 (W, 4-0)
- Aaron Edwards vs. No. 14 Loyola Marymount - Oct. 14 (W, 2-1)
- Constantinos Michaelides vs. No. 1 Oregon State - Nov. 7 (W, 3-2)
- Tommy Silva at San Diego State - Nov. 12 (W, 4-1)
Lucky Number Seven
Despite playing a pair of quality teams, the Bruins posted a combined seven goals in their final two games of the regular season (vs. No. 1 Oregon State, at San Diego State). This marks the second time under third-year head coach Ryan Jorden that the Bruins have 3+ goals in back-to-back games, the first being Oct. 1-6, 2019 (8 total vs. UC Riverside, San Diego State).
Lepley in the Lead
Redshirt freshman MF Tucker Lepley enters the postseason tied for the team lead in points (5-6-14). He was on the scoresheet for UCLA's last two games of the regular season, recording the primary assist on the game-winning goals against both No. 1 Oregon State and San Diego State. His helper on Kevin Diaz's goal against the Beavers broke a season-long three-game pointless streak, and his three points (1-1-3) against SDSU were a career high. He's tied for fourth in the Pac-12 in points and assists, and is tied for sixth in goals. UCLA has won the last eight games in which Lepley has recorded a point (8-1 overall).