Nov. 28, 2003
LOS ANGELES - The fourth-seeded UCLA women's soccer team picked a good time to turn in one of its most dominating performances of the season, defeating fifth-seeded Penn State, 4-0 in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament at UCLA's Drake Stadium Friday. With the victory, UCLA (20-1-3) earns its second-ever appearance in the NCAA College Cup and will face top-seeded North Carolina in the national semifinals next Friday. With the loss, Penn State ends its season at 19-3-3 overall.
UCLA got on the board in the 16th minute of play on a goal by senior midfielder Whitney Jones. Iris Mora sent a corner kick into the box that was headed down by defender Nandi Pryce. Lindsay Greco then gave it to Jones, who chested it in from about a yard out.
The Bruins scored another goal before halftime when Mora tallied an unassisted strike at the 36:37 mark. Mora gathered the ball in front of the Penn State box, chipped it over her head before turning and unleashing a left-footed blast that hit the right post. The ball deflected off the back of Penn State goalkeeper Amanda Brown and went into the net for a 2-0 UCLA advantage.
The Bruins scored next in the 77th minute on a goal by freshman forward Bristyn Davis. Pryce hit a long ball up from the back that was run onto by Mora. Mora controlled it and drew her defender before hitting it over to a wide-opened Davis, who shot a low roller past a diving Brown.
With a commanding 3-0 advantage, the Bruins' fourth goal came with just under a minute to play. At the 89:11 mark, forward Kim Devine bent in a corner kick that was unsuccessfully punched out by Brown.
"To win the way we did is fantastic," said head coach Jillian Ellis. "It was a total team performance tonight. Penn State is a tremendous team. It feels fantastic to be back in the College Cup."
The Bruins received a special message prior to Friday's match, as five-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong called to wish the team luck against the Nittany Lions. UCLA has adopted Armstrong's story for inspiration this year, with players earning yellow jerseys for top performances in practice. Armstrong's voice mail was played for the team right before game time.
With the victory Friday, UCLA also ties the school record for wins in a season with 20. The 2001 Bruins, who advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals, finished with a 20-3 overall record.
This will be the second College Cup appearance in the 11-year history of the program. UCLA's only other trip to the College Cup came back in 2000. That year the Bruins defeated Portland, 1-0 in the semifinals before falling to North Carolina, 2-1 in the NCAA title match.
Next week's match between top-seeded North Carolina and UCLA will feature the top-two teams in the nation, as the Tar Heels and Bruins are ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in both the NSCAA/adidas and Soccer America national polls.
Three teams have already qualified for the 2003 College Cup, as Florida State joins UCLA and North Carolina. The Seminoles advanced with a 2-1 decision over rival Florida. They will await the outcome of the BYU/UConn match played tomorrow. Next week's College Cup will take place Dec. 5 & 7 in Cary, N.C.
UCLA's only loss this year came against North Carolina back on Sept. 19. The Tar Heels defeated the Bruins, 5-2 at the Duke/adidas Classic.