Nov. 27, 2001
This Week - Head coach Todd Salda?a's 20th-ranked UCLA men's soccer team (12-6-4, 5-2-1 in the Pac-10) will take on No. 1 seed and undefeated SMU (20-0-0) in an NCAA third round game at Dallas on Saturday, Dec. 1. The game will take place at 7:30 pm CT at Wescott Field.
A Look At The Mustangs - SMU boasts a star-studded lineup highlighted by Hermann Trophy finalists Luchi Gonzalez, Carl Bussey, Diego Walsh and Mohamed Fahim. Six Mustangs have scored in double-digits this season - Gonzalez (21 goals, 12 assists, 54 points), Walsh (10g, 10a, 30 pts.), Bret Corbin (6/6/18 pts.), Fahim (7/3/17 pts.), Ryan Latham (4/3/11 pts.) and Jarrod Blake (3/4/10 pts.). As a team, SMU ranks second in the nation in scoring and third in goals against average. Goalkeeper Byron Foss has allowed just 10 goals this year with 11 shutouts and a GAA of 0.50. The Mustangs are coached by Schellas Hyndman in his 26th year.
The Series With SMU - UCLA leads the overall series with SMU, 5-2-1, and has won the last three meetings. The last meeting resulted in a 1-0 victory in 1996 at the Indiana Tournament.
Trip To Final Four Goes Through SMU? - UCLA and SMU have met three times before in the NCAA Tournament, with the Bruins not only winning each game but also going on to advance to the Final Four. In both 1985 and 1990, UCLA downed SMU 2-0 in the quarterfinals and went on to win the NCAA title. During the Bruins' 1994 Final Four run, the Bruins traveled to Dallas and came from behind to defeat SMU 4-2 in the second round.
Bruins In NCAA Tournament For 19th Straight Year - UCLA's selection to the NCAA Tournament is the 19th consecutive and 29th overall for the Bruins. UCLA has won national championships in 1985, 1990 and 1997 and have now reached the Round of 16 for the sixth time in the last eight years. The Bruins' all-time NCAA record is 47-26.
UCLA vs. Tournament Field - The Bruins hold a 7-4-3 record versus the tournament field. UCLA's seven victories came against third-seeded Stanford, Santa Clara, California (twice), Washington, Loyola Marymount and San Diego. The Bruins also have ties against Stanford, second-seeded Virginia and South Carolina.
Pac-10 Shows Its Strength - The Pacific-10 Conference will be represented by four of its five (80%) member teams in the NCAA Tournament - third-seeded and league champion Stanford, UCLA, Washington and California. No other conference in the nation had a higher percentage of teams advancing.
Recapping The First Round - A Cliff McKinley goal with 43 seconds remaining in regulation prevented Loyola Marymount from winning the game in regulation, and Tim Pierce's 109th minute goal turned around a sure LMU victory into a thrilling 3-2 UCLA win in double overtime. Pierce had given UCLA a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute, but LMU scored two unanswered goals at the 39th and 67th minutes. With time ticking away, the Bruins earned a corner kick, and Ryan Futagaki's corner kick went to Alex Yi in the box. Yi's header was deflected right to McKinley, who headed it in past LMU keeper Dan Sheridan. Pierce's breakaway goal in the second overtime period was set up by a Jimmy Frazelle pass.
Recapping The Second Round - Matt Taylor scored two goals as UCLA ran away with a 4-0 win over San Diego in the NCAA second round. Ryan Futagaki and Tim Pierce scored less than a minute apart in the 83rd and 84th minutes to turn the game into a rout.
Bruins Unbeaten In Last Eight Games - The Bruins have not lost in their last eight games, going 6-0-2 during that time while facing three Top 20 teams. UCLA won its last five games, downing Cal 1-0 in overtime on the road, defeating at home Oregon State, 1-0, and 14th-ranked Washington, 3-2 in overtime, and winning two NCAA tournament games on the road, 3-2 over LMU in double overtime and 4-0 over San Diego. During the eight-game unbeaten streak, UCLA allowed just five goals, outscoring its opponents, 17-5.
Resurgent Offense - UCLA's offense is clicking at just the right time, scoring 10 goals in the last three games. The main culprits in the offensive explosion the last three games have been forwards Tim Pierce (four goals), Matt Taylor (three goals) and Cliff McKinley (two goals).
Wells Approaches Saves Record - With 95 saves this season, sophomore goalkeeper Zach Wells is two saves away from the UCLA record of 97, set by Brad Friedel in 1990. Wells, who had a consecutive shutout streak snapped at 541 minutes in his last game, moved into second place after a five-save performance against LMU Friday.
Akwari Returns To Home State - Sophomore co-captain Nelson Akwari returns to his home state of Texas this weekend. Akwari, the U.S. Under-20 National Team captain, prepped at Strake Jesuit HS in Houston, Texas, where he led his team to the 1998 State Championship. He earned 2000 Parade Magazine Player of the Year honors and 1999 NSCAA National High School Player of the Year acclaim.
Bruins Healthy Heading Into NCAAs - UCLA is injury-free for the tournament and have been fortunate to not have any major injuries this season. That was not the case a year ago, when starters Ryan Futagaki, Adolfo Gregorio and Scot Thompson missed the post-season due to injuries.
UCLA Shows Stamina In Extra Time - Should any of their playoff games go to extra periods, UCLA will definitely have the edge, having already played six double-overtime and eight overall overtime games this season. UCLA's record in overtime is 3-1-4. In all, UCLA has played 217 minutes worth of overtime and have logged nearly 300 more minutes overall than SMU. The Mustangs have only played two overtime games this year, defeating Vanderbilt 2-1 in double overtime and Creighton 2-1 in quadruple overtime.
In the Rankings - UCLA ended the regular season ranked No. 20 by Soccer America and No. 19 by SoccerTimes.com. SMU is the consensus No. 1. Eleven Bruins Earn All-Conference Acclaim - A league-high 11 UCLA players earned All-Pac-10 honors, including three first-team selections. Junior midfielder Ryan Futagaki, sophomore midfielder Adolfo Gregorio and junior forward Tim Pierce were selected to the first team for the first time in their careers. Second-team selections were sophomore defenders Nelson Akwari and Alex Yi and sophomore goalkeeper Zach Wells. Five others earned honorable mention nods - sophomore midfielder Dru Hoshimiya, senior midfielder Brandon Kay, sophomore forwards Cliff McKinley and Matt Taylor and junior defender Scot Thompson.
UCLA In The Conference - The Bruins rank amongst the Pac-10 leaders in several team and individual categories. As a team, UCLA ranks first in shots (366) and saves (98), and second in points (102), goals (36), least goals allowed per game (0.95), shutouts (9) and corner kicks (128). Individually, Tim Pierce leads the conference in goals (10, tied), game-winning goals (4) and shots (69) and ranks third in points (22) and goals per game (0.48), and sixth in points per game (1.05). Matt Taylor is tied for fifth in goals (7) and shots (46) and ninth in points (16). In per game averages, he ranks eighth in goals per game (0.32) and 10th in points per game (0.73). Goalkeeper Zach Wells leads the conference in shutouts (9) and ranks second in saves (95) and third in saves per game (4.32). Among conference starers, he ranks second in goals against average (0.85).
Hermann, M.A.C. Award Watch - Defender Alex Yi is a finalist for the Hermann Trophy, college soccer's longest-standing player of the year award, as well as for the Missouri Athletic Club Player of the Year Award. The U.S. Under-20 National Team member was the 2000 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and a second-team All-Pac-10 selection the past two seasons. He was one of just three players to start all 19 of UCLA's games in 2000. This year, Yi has started 21 games, contributing to nine shutouts, including five in the Bruins' last seven games.