Nov. 7, 2004
LOS ANGELES - Needing a win in its final match of the regular season to claim a share of the 2004 Pac-10 Conference title, the No. 14 UCLA women's soccer team posted a thrilling 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the USC Women of Troy Sunday at McAlister Field. With the win, UCLA ends the regular season at 13-6 overall and 6-3 in the Pac-10, tying Arizona, which also finished 6-3. The Bruins and Wildcats are the co-champions of the conference, however Arizona will be awarded the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament due to a 1-0 victory over UCLA on Oct. 31.
UCLA, which wins its second Pac-10 title in a row and fifth in the 12-year history of the program, needed two second-half goals, including one in the second overtime period to pull out the victory Sunday. USC's Shannon Cross gave the Women of Troy an early 1-0 advantage, scoring in just the fifth minute of the match on a one-touch putback from about 18 yards out.
Down 1-0 at the half, UCLA didn't get on the board until the 53rd minute when sophomore Bristyn Davis scored her 12th goal of the season on an assist from Danesha Adams. Less than six minutes later however, the Women of Troy struck again on a goal by Lauren Shepherdson. Shepherdson sent a high, arching free kick into the UCLA box that appeared to be heading wide of the goal and out of play. The ball ended up hitting the post and ricocheting off the leg of UCLA goalkeeper Valerie Henderson before going in.
With less than 10 minutes to play and USC owning a 2-1 advantage, UCLA desperately needed a goal to send the match into overtime. Bruin junior Crystal James answered the call, registering just her second goal of the season at the 82:21 mark. James dribbled down the left side of the field and hit a sharp-angled shot that hit the right post and bounced back across the goal. USC goalkeeper Julie Peterson got back into position and jumped on the ball, however the linesman called it a goal for UCLA after claiming the ball had already crossed the plane of the goal.
UCLA would win the match in the second overtime period on a golden goal by senior Lindsay Greco. After collecting a ball from Adams at the top of the box, Greco fired right-footed bullet into the upper left corner, just past the outstretched hands of Peterson, giving UCLA the victory.
The Bruins, who outshot the Women of Troy, 22-11 on the day, have now won the last five meetings between the two schools. UCLA owns an eight-match unbeaten streak against USC and has not lost to the Women of Troy since a 5-4 setback in 1998. With the win, UCLA also gains valuable points in the season long battle for the Lexus Gauntlet Trophy.
Sunday's match will be broadcast tape-delayed in Southern California on Fox Sports Net. The match will air on Nov. 12 at 2:00 p.m. (FSW2), Nov. 13 at 12:30 p.m. (FSW) and Nov. 15 at 1:00 p.m. (FSW).
The 64-team draw for the 2004 NCAA Women's Soccer Championships will be announced tomorrow (Nov. 8) at 1:00 p.m. (PST) on ESPNews. UCLA is likely to host first and second round action, Nov. 12 and 14 at Drake Stadium.