Aug. 26, 2005
The 1985 Bruin squad won its first NCAA title with a record-setting eight overtime 1-0 victory over American University in the NCAA Championship game at the Kingdome in Seattle, WA on Dec. 14.
Armed with a lineup of all California players, including future National Team stars Paul Caligiuri, Paul Krumpe, David Vanole, Eric Biefeld, Dale Ervine and Tom Silvas, the Bruins were dominant in 1985, finishing the season with a 20-1-4 record. They lost just one game, a 2-1 loss against Fresno State on Sept. 25, and never looked back after that, winning or tying the remaining 13 games of the regular season.
In the NCAA playoffs, UCLA, as the Far West's top seed, defeated California 3-1 in the first round behind goals from Doug Swanson, Silvas and Ervine. The Bruins got past UNLV in overtime with a 1-0 second round victory when Ervine scored the game-winner on a brilliant 25-yard shot into the upper corner in the 101st minute. Ervine also had the game-winner in the quarterfinals when UCLA defeated SMU 2-0.
In the Final Four, the Bruin defense, led by Krumpe, Biefeld, Caligiuri and goalkeeper Vanole, was masterful, allowing just one goal in 256 minutes, while the offense, led by Ervine with four post-season goals and Mike Getchell with four assists, was opportune.
UCLA traveled to No. 1 ranked Evansville for the semifinals on Dec. 8. Playing before a packed house in hostile territory, the Bruins took a 1-0 first half lead on another Getchell to Ervine play. An own goal provided the winning margin, and Getchell, who was playing on a reconstructed knee, sealed the deal with a goal of his own to give UCLA a 3-1 victory. Head coach Sigi Schmid, who had played in two NCAA Championship games at UCLA in 1972 and 1973, brought the Bruins back to the title match for the first time since his playing days, determined to bring home UCLA's first NCAA soccer title.
The championship game turned out to be one for the ages, as the Bruins and American University battled it out for a record 166 minutes, five seconds. Both defenses were impenetrable. The two teams combined for 47 shots. American dominated in the first half, outshooting UCLA 10-2. All-American forward Michael Brady came closest to scoring in the first stanza, but his shot from 25 yards out went just wide right. Vanole also made critical saves during that shot barrage and had six total saves in the game.
The Bruins controlled possession in the second half and gained a big advantage in the second half when Eagle defender Serge Torreilles was ejected for violent conduct, but UCLA was unable to capitalize.
Fatigue, coupled with a slippery Astroturf field, played a major factor in the game. Short sudden death overtime periods of five minutes each prevented any opportunity of establishing rhythm. Finally, nearly four hours after the initial whistle blew, opportunity struck.
And for this Hollywood team, it was only fitting that the hero was seldom-used defender Andy Burke. Injured for most of the season and nearly redshirted, Burke was making his first NCAA Tournament appearance of the year, entering during overtime.
In the 167th minute, he worked himself free to receive a pass from Krumpe, caught the American goalkeeper cheating to the near post and scored on a far-post shot from 13 yards out. The goal was his first ever as a Bruin.
Recalled Schmid, "Andy hadn't played much that year. Before the game, his dad had read an article in the Wall Street Journal that talked about how the last guy, the most unexpected person, is the one who makes the biggest contribution sometimes. He had relayed that message to Andy the day before, and the next day Andy went out and made the biggest contribution."
For Schmid, the memories of the championship were still vivid 20 years later. "We had come so close so often in the game, and when Andy Burke scored the goal, it was like shaking a can of Coke and opening it up," he said. "We just let out all this emotion and adrenaline and just spread out on the field."
"Anytime you win a championship, it obviously takes a special place," he continued. "This one ranks right up there with all of the other championships. The first one is always a little special, though, because it's the first one. As a player, I played in three Final Fours but never won it, so it was especially satisfying to win it the first time as a coach."