Top-seeded UCLA (12-3-4) will continue its 2013 postseason run on Sunday night as the Bruins host the Connecticut Huskies (12-2-7) at 5 p.m. out at Drake Stadium. Tickets to the match can be purchased by phone through the Central Ticket Office (closed on Thanksgiving) at (310) UCLA-WIN (825-2946) or at the gate the day of the game. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for student/youth (children 16 years and younger). Parking for the match will be free for all fans who park in Lot 7 on the UCLA campus.
Live Coverage — Fans can follow the match on the internet via a live audio broadcast at uclabruins.com. John Ramey and Erin Cole will have the call live from Drake Stadium. Fans can also follow the match via Gametracker. Links are available at uclabruins.com on the events calendar on the front page.
Bruins Reach Tournament For 31st Consecutive Year — UCLA earned its 31st consecutive and 41st overall NCAA Tournament berth by receiving an at-large bid and earning the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, the first time they have been the No. 1 overall seed since the 2003 season. The Bruins' NCAA streak is the second-longest active streak in the nation behind Virginia (33 straight appearances), and their 41 all-time NCAA appearances are second only to Saint Louis' 47. UCLA has an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 68-37 with 13 College Cup appearances and national championships in 1985, 1990, 1997 and 2002.
UCLA vs. Tournament Field — 11 of UCLA's 18 regular season matches this season came against teams that made the NCAA Tournament, with the Bruins owning a record of 7-2-2 against those teams. The Bruins improved their record to 8-2-2 against Tournament teams with their win over Elon on Sunday. UCLA defeated unseeded teams Indiana and Stanford (twice), No. 2 seed Washington, No. 4 seed California, No. 10 seed UC Santa Barbara and No. 15 seed Cal State Northridge during the regular season. The Bruins dropped matches to California and No. 12 seed UC Irvine while earning draws at Washington and vs. No. 3 seed Notre Dame.
In The Rankings — UCLA finished the regular season ranked No. 1 by the NSCAA and College Soccer News. The Bruins are also ranked No. 2 by Soccer America and Top Drawer Soccer. In the NCAA RPI, UCLA finished the regular season at No. 1. Connecticut is ranked No. 6 by Soccer America and No. 10 by the NSCAA, Top Drawer Soccer and College Soccer News. The Huskies finished the regular season ranked No. 21 in the NCAA RPI as well.
How They Got Here: UCLA — UCLA received an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament after finishing second in the Pac-12 Conference. The Bruins earned the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament and a bye in the first round by virtue of their 11-3-4 regular season record and 6-1-3 conference record. UCLA has won its last five matches and has suffered only one loss in its last 12.
How They Got Here: Connecticut — Unseeded Connecticut advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament by defeating Quinnipiac, 2-1, in the first round at home before upending 16th-seeded UMBC on the road in the second round on penalty kicks (2-2, 4-2 PKs). In the Huskies' first match against Quinnipiac, sophomore Nicholas Zuniga and senior Mamadou Doudou Diouf scored goals to lead UConn to victory. Jakob Nerwinski assisted on both goals. Then in the second round against UMBC, freshman Cyle Larin and Diouf provided the goals for Connecticut as the two teams went to penalty kicks. In the penalty kick stage, the Huskies converted on four of their five attempts to advance on PKs, 4-2. Overall, Larin leads UConn and the AAC Conference with 12 goals and 26 points while junior Allando Matheson is second on the team with 16 points (7 g, 2 a). Junior midfielder Adria Beso is also a key member for the Huskies, as he is seventh in the country and first in the AAC in assists (10). Finally, junior Andre Blake will man the goal for Connecticut, posting a 0.59 GAA thus far, which is seventh in the nation and first in the AAC.
The Series With Connecticut — The Huskies and Bruins have met four times in their history with UCLA owning a 1-2-1 record against UConn. The two sides have not met since the 1988 season when UCLA won 1-0 at the UNLV Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev. UCLA and Connecticut have never met in the NCAA Tournament.
Second Round Recap — UCLA advanced to the NCAA Third Round with a 4-0 victory over unseeded Elon on Sunday at Drake Stadium. Senior Victor Chavez scored two goals to lead the Bruins while Pac-12 Player of the Year Leo Stolz assisted on three of the four goals. Senior Joe Sofia and junior Aaron Simmons added the other goals for the Bruins. Chavez got UCLA on the board in the 12th minute after backheeling the ball into the back of the net off a great setup from sophomores Grady Howe and Jordan Vale. Vale now has three assists in his last two matches. Sofia then made it 2-0 in the 22nd minute after scoring off a Stolz corner kick before Simmons headed home a Stolz free kick to make it 3-0 in the 31st minute. Stolz and Chavez connected for the fourth and final goal in the 54th minute. Junior keeper Earl Edwards Jr. was superb in goal, making five saves to post his second straight shutout and seventh overall. Stolz's three assists were also the most by a UCLA player in a postseason game since Cliff McKinley had three vs. Penn State in the 2002 NCAA Quarterfinals.
NCAA Experience — 18 UCLA players have had at least one game of NCAA Tournament experience in their time at the school. Seniors Reed Williams and Joe Sofia have the most Tournament experience of the group, playing in nine postseason matches in their careers. Junior forward Victor Chavez has five NCAA Tournament goals and 10 points in eight matches to lead the team while Williams and junior Leo Stolz lead the 2013 squad with four career postseason assists. Junior keeper Earl Edwards Jr. has made two career postseason starts, posting a 1-1 record with one shutout and 11 saves. Sophomore Jordan Vale and junior Aaron Simmons both have NCAA Tournament experience with other schools in addition to their time at UCLA. Vale led Syracuse to the NCAA Quarterfinals last season, scoring a goal and logging two assists in three starts while Simmons made two starts in two years at SMU, tallying an assist. Vale tallied one assist in UCLA's second round match vs. Elon last Sunday while Simmons added a goal. UCLA has made it to at least the Quarterfinal stage in three of the last four seasons with a College Cup appearance in 2011.
Leo Stolz Named Pac-12 Player of the Year — For the third straight year, a member of the UCLA men's soccer team took home conference Player of the Year honors, as junior midfielder Leo Stolz was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year. This is the first time in Pac-12 history that a team has had a player win the conference Player of the Year award in three consecutive seasons. Stolz became the sixth UCLA player all-time to be named Pac-12 Player of the Year, joining Ryan Hollingshead (2012), Kelyn Rowe (2011), Michael Stephens (2008), Patrick Ianni (2004) and Matt Taylor (2003). The Munich, Germany native leads the Pac-12 with 26 points, which also ranks 26th in the country. and is third in goals (9) and assists (8), both team-highs. Stolz, who has played in all 19 of UCLA’s matches thus far, has also scored a Pac-12 leading four game-winning goals. Additionally, the junior midfielder has recorded at least one point in nine of his last 13 matches and has been named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week four times this season.
Six Bruins Named to the All-Pac-12 Team — The Bruins also landed six players on the Pac-12 All-Conference team in 2013, highlighted by two first-team selections. Juniors Leo Stolz and Earl Edwards Jr. earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors while seniors Victor Chavez and Victor Munoz, and junior Aaron Simmons received second-team accolades. Senior Joe Sofia received honorable mention. Edwards, who has served as UCLA’s co-captain this year, has had a terrific season in goal for the Bruins, starting all 19 matches and logging 70 saves with a 1.05 GAA. Munoz is tied for the team lead with eight assists while Chavez earned All-Pac-12 honors for the fourth straight season, making him the first UCLA player to accomplish the feat since David Estrada did it from 2006-09. Chavez is second on the team to Stolz with 22 points thus far (8 g, 6 a) and ranks in the top-10 in the Pac-12 in points (2nd), goals (t-5th) and assists (9th). Simmons has played a crucial role for the Bruins in the defensive midfield all season, helping the team earn seven shutouts while scoring three goals. Finally, Sofia earned All-Pac-12 honors for the third straight year with his honorable mention selection in 2013. He has served as the co-captain along with Edwards this season and has anchored the UCLA back line all year while scoring one goal in 18 matches.
Giant Killers — UCLA has defeated four top-3 opponents this season, including two teams that were ranked No. 1 at the time of their matchup with the Bruins. UCLA dispatched top-ranked Indiana, 1-0, on Sept. 1 before defeating third-ranked Cal State Northridge on Sept. 22, with both wins coming on the road. The Bruins then took care of No. 3 Washington at home and No. 1 California on the road by matching scores of 2-1 on Oct. 27 and Nov. 3 respectively. Overall, the Bruins are 5-1-2 against ranked opponents this season.
Head Coach Jorge Salcedo — UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo is in his 10th season at the helm of the program, posting an all-time record of 130-48-32. He has coached UCLA to eight Pac-12 Titles as an assistant coach or head coach and is a four-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year (co-coach in 2004, winner in 2008, 2011 and 2012). Salcedo has also led UCLA to two College Cup appearances and is the second-longest tenured men's soccer head coach in UCLA's NCAA history.
Defending Drake — The Bruins hold a record of 16-5 in NCAA Tournament games at Drake Stadium and are 102-20-16 all-time at Drake Stadium, good for a .797 winning percentage. UCLA finished the 2013 regular season with a 6-2-1 home record and is 1-0 in the postseason at home. In addition, the Bruins are drawing well at the turnstiles, averaging a home attendance of 1,133. On the road UCLA is averaging a crowd of 2,056, a Pac-12 best.
Seven Bruins Named to Pac-12 All-Academic Team — A total of seven UCLA men’s soccer players were named to the 2013 Pac-12 All-Academic team. Seniors Ryan Lee, Patrick Matchett and Joe Sofia, and sophomore Grady Howe were all named to the first team while senior Reed Williams was named to the second team. Senior Max Estrada and junior Leo Stolz received honorable mention. Howe, Williams and Sofia all earned Capital One Academic All-District honors as well while Sofia received first-team Capital One Academic All-America acclaim for the second year in a row.
Road Warriors — UCLA has posted a terrific record on the road in the last few seasons, going 20-1-6 in its last 27 road or neutral site matches. The Bruins went unbeaten on the road last season, going 8-0-2, and have a 5-1-3 record in road and neutral site contests this season. Prior to the loss at UC Irvine on Sept. 19, the Bruins had not lost a road or neutral site match since 2011. UCLA is also unbeaten its last 19 Pac-12 road matches dating back to 2010.
Six Bruins On To TDS's "100 Players To Watch" List — Seniors Joe Sofia and Victor Chavez and junior Leo Stolz were all named to Top Drawer Soccer's Midseason "100 Players to Watch" list. Stolz came in at No. 9 on the list while Sofia is ranked No. 18. Chavez is ranked as the No. 29 player to watch. Additionally, three Bruins were selected to Top Drawer Soccer's "Top 100 Freshmen to Watch" list. Michael Amick (No. 12), Brian Iloski (No. 22) and Nathan Smith (No. 85) were all selected to the list. Amick has helped lead the Bruins to seven shutouts during the season while Smith has scored one goal and notched two assists in 15 matches. Iloski logged one goal and one assist on the season before missing the second half due to injury.
Joe Sofia Named Senior Class Award Finalist — Senior defender Joe Sofia has been selected as one of 10 finalists for the 2013 Men's Soccer Senior CLASS Award. Sofia, a native of Dove Canyon, Calif., has upheld a 3.965 cumulative GPA in communication studies and is on track to graduate after the Fall quarter after just three years and one quarter. He has held the highest GPA among all of UCLA’s student-athletes since the spring of 2012 and has made the Director’s Honor Roll in every one of his quarters at UCLA (nine times in total). Sofia has been very active in the community as well, developing an anti-bullying curriculum with some fellow student-athletes that will be distributed to local middle schools later this fall. On the field, Sofia has played in 81 matches in his four-year career, starting 79 of them. This season, he has started 18 of UCLA's 19 matches while serving as the team captain and the anchor of the back line. Additionally, Sofia has scored one goal on the year and leads all UCLA position players in minutes with 1,604.