Nov. 28, 2009
LOS ANGELES - The top-seeded UCLA women's soccer team earned a spot in the NCAA College Cup for the seventh consecutive season on Saturday, as the Bruins posted a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over No. 2 Portland in an NCAA Quarterfinal showdown at Drake Stadium. UCLA (21-2-1) faces undefeated Stanford (24-0) next Friday at 4:30 p.m. (CST) in College Station, Texas. The Cardinal advanced with a 3-1 victory over Boston College on Friday evening.
Portland took a page out of UCLA's book on Saturday, scoring just two minutes into the match on a goal by Danielle Foxhoven. Kendra Chandhoke fed Foxhoven the ball on the right side, enabling her to get off a quick shot to the near post past a diving Chante' Sandiford.
The only problem for the Pilots, however, was that it was their only shot of the first half.
UCLA pulled even in the 31st minute on Kylie Wright's third goal of the year. Kristina Larsen dribbled toward the top of the box pulling several Pilot defenders her way. She played the ball off to Wright, who unleashed a shot that deflected off a Portland defender and into the goal.
Senior Lauren Cheney then scored what ended up being the game-winning goal a little more than three minutes later on a left-footed shot from about 12 yards out. Defender Lauren Barnes drove a ball from the back all the way up to Cheney, who was making a run deep in Portland territory. She trapped the ball in stride and was able to quickly send a shot past Pilot goalkeeper Kelsey Davis. With that goal, Cheney moved into sole possession of first place on the UCLA career scoring list, as she now has 171 points on 70 goals and 31 assists. She surpasses Traci Arkenberg, who had 169 points as a player from 1994-97.
UCLA's defense was tremendous on Saturday, limiting the Pilots to just seven total shots. In fact, the Bruins' back line of Barnes, Dea Cook, Jenna Belcher and Lauren Wilmoth also didn't allow a single shot for 80 straight minutes following Portland's goal at the 2:01 mark of the first half.
One of Portland's best chances of the night came in the 82nd minute when the Pilots were awarded a free kick from about 35 yards out. Sophie Schmidt took the kick, hitting a high ball that Sandiford had to jump up and push over the crossbar for a corner kick.
"This team is just unbelievable," said Cheney. We took it to them in the first half. Every player played their hearts out tonight and that's all you can ask for in a quarterfinal.
UCLA's four seniors on the field Saturday - Cheney, Cook, Wilmoth and Larsen - finish their careers without ever losing a home match. With the win, the Bruins extended the nation's longest home unbeaten streak to 67 in a row. UCLA's home winning streak is at 62.
UCLA improves to 8-1 all-time against Portland. It marks the Bruins' fifth straight win in the series.
Next Friday's UCLA-Stanford NCAA Semifinal will be a rematch of an Oct. 18 game won by the Cardinal, 2-0. That was the only time that the two teams have played this year.