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No. 1 UCLA Men's Soccer Opens Pac-10 Play Against No. 12 Stanford
By: UCLA Athletics

Oct. 2, 2000

This Week -- Head coach Todd Salda?a's No. 1-ranked UCLA men's soccer team (8-0-0) will play its first-ever Pac-10 Conference game on Sunday, Oct. 8 when the Bruins take on 12th-ranked Stanford (8-0-1). The battle of the unbeatens will take place at Stanford's New Maloney Field at 2 pm.

A Look at Stanford -- Stanford boasts the nation's No. 1 offense and No. 1 defense, leading the nation in both scoring offense (4.2 goals per game) and team goals against average (0.11). The Cardinal has allowed only one goal this season, with that one goal accounting for Stanford's only blemish on their record, a 1-1 tie against seventh-ranked San Jose State. Senior midfielder Scott Leber leads Stanford with nine goals and 21 points. Four others are in double-digits in points scored - Luke Rust (13), Corey Woolfolk (12), Johanes Maliza (11) and Roger Levesque (11). The Cardinal defense is led by Player of the Year nominee Lee Morrison and goalkeeper Adam Zapala (0.12 GAA).

The Series -- UCLA leads the series against Stanford, 24-1-2, and has won the last four meetings. The Bruins' last win came in 1998, a 1-0 home victory in which Shaun Tsakiris assisted on the game-winning goal.

UCLA Begins Pac-10 Play -- Sunday's game at Stanford will mark the first ever Pac-10 Conference game for UCLA. This season, UCLA, along with Washington, Stanford, California and Oregon State, left the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) after eight years to compete in the Pac-10. Leaving the MPSF freed all five teams to play tougher schedules, which should strengthen its position once tournament bids are handed out. Despite holding the No. 3 national ranking and a 16-2 record entering the tournament last season, UCLA was not only unseeded in the tournament, but also had to play on the road in the second and third rounds.

Tennyson Earns M.A.C. Award Nomination -- Senior forward McKinley Tennyson Jr. was selected as one of 15 nominees for the Missouri Athletic Club Collegiate Player of the Year Award, the official NSCAA/adidas award for Division I players. Tennyson, who is also a finalist for the Hermann Trophy, remains one of the nation's leaders in scoring with nine goals and 18 points in just seven games played.

Yi Selected One Of Five "Players to Watch" -- Along with choosing the M.A.C. Award candidates, the nation's coaches also selected five "Players to Watch." Included amongst the five were UCLA freshman defender Alex Yi, who has started all eight games for the Bruins and has totaled one assist while leading the Bruin defense to five shutouts.

Tsakiris Nets Game-Winners In Two Bruin Victories -- Senior midfielder Shaun Tsakiris provided the heroics in both of UCLA's victories last week. Against 1999 NCAA finalist Santa Clara on Sept. 28, Tsakiris scored on a penalty kick to give UCLA a 1-0 victory. Tsakiris rallied the Bruins from a 2-1 halftime deficit on Oct. 1 against Saint Mary's, assisting on the equalizer and then scoring the game-winner to lift the Bruins to a 3-2 triumph. Tsakiris, who injured his back during the UC Irvine game Sept. 21, came off the bench in both victories.

Not Even Food Poisoning Can Keep Bruins Down -- UCLA gutted out two victories last week despite a bad epidemic of food poisoning on Thursday. At least 10 players were struck with the illness while the team was in Santa Clara, preventing the team from practicing Friday and Saturday. Come game time on Sunday, many players were still sluggish and dehydrated but played on and courageously fought for the victory.

The Fountain Of Youth -- Despite losing seven starters, five of whom are currently playing in Major League Soccer, UCLA has jump-started to a perfect 8-0-0 record and the No. 1 national ranking, mostly due in large part to the play of its freshmen. The Bruins start no less than six true freshmen regularly and have started seven freshmen three times. Starting all eight games this year have been goalkeeper DJ Countess, defenders Nelson Akwari and Alex Yi, and forward Adolfo Gregorio. Matt Taylor has seven starts, Leonard Griffin has five, Ty Maurin has four, Cliff McKinley has two, and Tony Lawson has one.

Dear Diary -- Senior defender and team captain Ryan Lee will share his thoughts during the season with a weekly diary on UCLA's official athletic website, In his latest entry, Lee reminisces about his first start as a freshman.

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