Nov. 25, 2001
San Diego, Calif. - Matt Taylor scored two goals as UCLA routed San Diego, 4-0, in an NCAA second round game played at Torero Stadium Sunday afternoon.
Taylor, a sophomore forward from Irvine, CA, gave UCLA the first half lead, scoring at the 22:00 mark. Sophomore midfielder Dru Hoshimiya started the play by sending a through ball to Adolfo Gregorio down the right sideline. Gregorio crossed it in the box to Taylor, who beat USD keeper Justin Neerhof for his sixth goal of the season.
Taylor struck again at the 70:02 mark, taking a cross from senior midfielder Brandon Kay and launching it past Neerhof from 15 yards out.
UCLA was not finished. With 7:22 to play in the game, Jimmy Frazelle was taken down in the penalty box by Neerhof, and Ryan Futagaki sent the ensuing penalty kick to the right of Neerhof as he dove the opposite way.
Tim Pierce made it 4-0 with 6:46 to play on a one-on-one breakaway after a pass from Frazelle. Pierce's shot hit the right post and bounced into the back of the net for his 10th goal of the year.
"After we scored, at halftime, we said don't give up a goal and play tough defense," stated Taylor. "Once they got down by two, they (San Diego) just broke down defensively. They had to attack and push forward, and we could see their confidence drop."
The Bruin win snaps a two-game losing skid against the Toreros, who had earlier in the season defeated UCLA, 3-0.
"Our main focus was on the USD game," said sophomore co-captain Nelson Akwari. "They beat us earlier 3-0, so there was definitely a revenge factor. We were motivated to play, and we came in focused."
"In situations like this, you're a little speechless," said UCLA head coach Todd Saldana. "San Diego was the team we badly wanted to play. We have had less than great performances on this field, and we wanted to come down here and conquer the demons, and our guys were able to do that."
The Bruins received some outstanding defensive play from its defenders, particularly Akwari, who made two backline saves. In the fifth minute, USD forward Ryan Coiner sent in a cross into the goal mouth while Bruin goalkeeper Zach Wells was out of the box. In front of the empty net, Akwari headed the ball over the goal. In the 57th minute, after a shot by Matt McCausland was stopped by Wells, Akwari sent the loose ball out of harm's way just in front of the goal and regained possession for the Bruins.
"Our defense has been strong all year," said Saldana. "Today, give credit to the guys up further in the field. They made our defenders' jobs a lot easier. It was a team effort defensively."
UCLA (12-6-4) moves on to face top-seeded and undefeated SMU (20-0-0) next week in Dallas, Texas. SMU defeated New Mexico 2-0 in its second round match. San Diego ends its season at 12-4-1.
"We're confident going up against SMU," said Akwari. "We've definitely been playing better as the season went on. SMU is a tough team, but we have the ability to challenge them."
"We're looking forward to it," said Kay. "We want to get to Dallas as soon as possible."