Oct. 7, 2005
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA and USC women's soccer teams played one for the ages Friday evening, as the fourth-ranked Bruins rallied from a two-goal halftime deficit to eventually come back and defeat the Women of Troy, 3-2 in a double-overtime thriller before 1,736 fans at Drake Stadium. UCLA, which has now won six-straight over its cross-town rival, improves to 11-1 on the season and 1-0 in the Pac-10. USC falls to 6-4-1 overall and 0-1 in conference action.
With the score tied at 2-2 late in the final overtime period, Bruin midfielder Bristyn Davis gathered the ball on the right side and made her way towards the USC goal. UCLA forward Iris Mora then made a run to the middle of the field just outside the USC box. Davis lofted in a cross that Mora was able to chest down before one-timing a right-footed blast into the left corner of the goal, beating USC goalkeeper Veronica Simonton for the game winner.
"I'll tell you what, it's always a barnburner with them," said UCLA head coach Jillian Ellis, referring to the Bruins' cross-town rivals. "That was one of the all-time best games as far as competitiveness. I'm just extremely proud of this team. (USC) is a good team and a dangerous team. They have a lot of personality."
Although the Bruins controlled the second half and both overtime periods, it was the Women of Troy who came out as the stronger team to start the game. USC took a 1-0 lead less than two minutes into the match when Stacey Strong scored on a five-yard shot at the 1:18 mark. Rosa Anna Tantillo and Amy Rodriguez were credited with the assists. USC then took a 2-0 advantage with another goal in the 29th minute, this time by freshman Nini Loucks. Hillary Schwarzbach had the assist on that goal.
"It's very difficult to give up a goal that early," said Ellis. "I think it was tough emotionally because we were so up for this game. And then after the second one I could see it was going to be an uphill slog. But what I said to them at halftime, I walked in and told them that if there was one thing we had to have, it was hope and belief. They bought in so it was good."
The Bruins responded, coming out for the second half with a sense of urgency. Defender Stacy Lindstrom put UCLA on the board at the 52:16 mark after a missed shot by Caitlin Ursini hit the post and bounced back into play. Lindstrom ran onto it, driving in a shot past Simonton from six yards out. USC's lead didn't last long after that as, less than 30 seconds later, the Bruins tied the match on a header by defender Jill Oakes. Mora registered the assist, her 30th of the season, after sending in a perfect ball off a free kick from about 25 yards out.
Although the Bruins outshot the Women of Troy, 24-6 on the night, the match was much closer, as USC had several credible scoring opportunities late in the match. A pair of shots by Loucks and Rodriguez nearly found the left corner of the Bruin goal. Friday marked the first time that any team has been able to score more than one goal against the Bruins this season. It was UCLA's second come-from-behind victory in as many games, as UCLA also notched a 2-1 victory over No. 10 Pepperdine last week after being down 1-0 at halftime.
UCLA keeps its unblemished record at home against USC, owning a perfect 10-0 record. The Bruins now lead the all-time series, 14-2-1. UCLA also gains valuable points in the season-long race for the Lexus Gauntlet Trophy.