Nov. 6, 2005
LOS ANGELES - Needing a win in its final match of the regular season to claim the 2005 Pac-10 title, the fourth-ranked UCLA women's soccer team pulled off a dramatic 2-1 victory over Arizona State in the final seconds of regulation Sunday at Drake Stadium. With the win, UCLA (17-1-2; 7-0-2 Pac-10) earns its third conference title in a row and receives the Pac-10's automatic bid for next week's NCAA Tournament. The Sun Devils fall to 9-8-3 overall and 4-4-1 in conference play.
Bruin midfielder Danesha Adams netted the game-winner with just 30 seconds remaining in regulation (89:30). Forward Iris Mora sent a floating ball over the ASU defense that Adams was able to run onto. She took one touch before unleashing a right-footed blast past the outstretched hands of Sun Devil goalkeeper Kim Bingham and into the left corner of the goal.
"It feels great," said UCLA head coach Jillian Ellis. "I don't' think it (winning three Pac-10 titles in a row) has ever been done at UCLA. I think this puts us in a position to receive a high seed in the NCAA Tournament and we're looking forward to it."
The Bruins struck first in the match, taking a 1-0 lead when freshman Kara Lang tallied her ninth goal of the season in the 15th minute. Following an ASU defensive miscue, Mora gathered a loose ball, sending it up the middle to Lang, who put it away from about 10 yards out.
UCLA enjoyed the 1-0 advantage for the next 40 minutes until Brittany Cooper got loose on a breakaway at the 56:39 mark of the second half. Cooper stole a ball in the middle of the field and ran through the UCLA defense before eventually putting away a shot from about 15 yards out.
The next 34 minutes saw both teams have a number of close scoring chances until Adams' game-winning goal in the final minute of play. The Bruin out-shot the Sun Devils 15-13 on the afternoon, also owning a 13-3 advantage in corner kicks. UCLA goalkeeper Valerie Henderson picked up her 15th victory of the season, finishing with three saves on the day.
UCLA becomes only the second team to win three Pac-10 titles in a row, as Stanford accomplished the feat in 1993, 1995 and 1996 (there was no Pac-10 Champion in 1994). Cal, which would've claimed the title had UCLA lost on Sunday, comes in second, just one point behind the Bruins in the final standings.
UCLA finds out who it will face in the NCAA Tournament when the 64-team draw is released tomorrow on ESPNews between 2:00-2:30 p.m. (PST). The Bruins will likely host early-round action at Drake Stadium.