Sept. 28, 2007
LOS ANGELES - After missing all of last year with a knee injury, including the first seven matches of this season while at the Women's World Cup in China, Bruin forward Kara Lang came back to the college game in impressive fashion Friday evening, scoring both UCLA goals in a 2-1 overtime upset of No. 2 Portland at Drake Stadium.
Lang, whose last game college game happened to be against Portland (7-2) in the 2005 NCAA Final, put the Bruins on the board a little more than eight minutes into the match. Lang received a ball from Lauren Cheney in the middle of the field, turned and unleashed a left-footed shot from about 30 yards out, catching Portland goalkeeper Kelsey Davis off guard. In fact, by the time Davis reacted to the shot it was too late, as the ball sailed over her head and into the top of the net.
UCLA (5-1-2) would hold the lead for the next 76 minutes and, just when it looked like the Bruins were going to come away with the 1-0 upset, Portland got the equalizer on a goal by Natalie Budge. Portland was awarded a free kick just outside the Bruin box, and forward Michelle Enyeart quickly started play before UCLA could set its defense. She played the ball to Budge, who ran onto it and tucked it into the right corner, just past a diving Valerie Henderson. It was a timely goal for the Pilots, as there was less than six minutes remaining in the match (84:23).
Both teams failed to score in the remaining five minutes of regulation sending the game into overtime. Lang's golden goal came seven minutes into the first period, as a misplayed ball by the Portland defense proved costly. Bruin forward Danesha Adams headed a ball towards the Portland goal, prompting Lang and defender Kelli Cronkrite to run onto it. When Cronkrite failed to come up with it, Lang too advantage, blasting a hard, bouncing shot towards Davis. As she knelt to grab it, however, the ball bounced up and off her right arm before dribbling into the goal.
UCLA outshot Portland, 11-7 on the evening. Davis, who played at UCLA as a freshman in 2005 before transferring, finished with a match-high five saves. Henderson added four saves of her own, picking up her fifth victory of the season and team-leading 61st of her career.
Although she didn't get in on the scoring, junior midfielder Christina DiMartino dazzled the 1,279 fans in attendance, making several spectacular runs through the Portland defense. She finished the night with three shots, two on goal.
The Bruins extend their home winning streak 31 matches on Friday. UCLA, which has not lost at home since Sept. 9, 2005, also owns a 26-match home winning streak. UCLA moves to 5-1 all time against Portland.
Lang returned to the team just this week after playing for Canada at the FIFA Women's World Cup. Canada finished 1-1-1 in group play, failing to advance to the quarterfinals.
UCLA has two matches next week, beginning with San Diego State on Oct. 5 in San Diego. The Bruins return home on Sunday, Oct. 7, hosting top-ranked Santa Clara at 1:00 p.m.