Nov. 19, 2010
Stanford, Calif. - Playing in a steady downpour for the entire 90 minutes, the UCLA women's soccer team saw its season come to an end in the NCAA Round of 16 on Friday evening, as top-seeded Stanford registered a 3-0 victory over the Bruins before 1,896 fans at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium. With the loss, UCLA ends its season with a 13-8-2 overall record. The Cardinal, who remain undefeated at 21-0-2, advance to next week's quarterfinals and will meet the winner of tomorrow's match between second-seeded Florida State and third-seeded Marquette.
"We certainly want to congratulate Stanford and wish them all the very best, to bring a championship to the Pac-10," said UCLA head coach Jillian Ellis. "They're a terrific team."
Unfortunately for UCLA, an early goal by Stanford forced the Bruins to play from behind for nearly the entire match, as the Cardinal tallied their first goal at just the 4:19 mark on what was ultimately scored as an own goal against the Bruins. An attempted ball played into the box by midfielder Mariah Nogueira was actually intercepted by a Bruin defender. However, due to the slick conditions, the ball grazed off the defender's head and back toward the UCLA goal, slipping into the top-left corner.
Stanford would tack on another goal prior to intermission on Pac-10 Player of the Year Christen Press's 24th goal of the year in the 29th minute. After dribbling to the top left corner of the box, Press stopped and cut quickly to the right, losing her defender before unleashing a right-footed strike to the upper-right corner.
Down 2-0 at the half, UCLA came out after the break and raised its level, continually challenging Stanford goalkeeper Emily Oliver. It mirrored the Bruins' 2-0 loss to the Cardinal earlier in the year, where UCLA made a second-half charge after also going down 2-0 in the first half. The Bruins actually outshot the Cardinal, 10-7 in the second half on Friday.
Despite UCLA's inspired play, Stanford gained the momentum yet again, when Press knocked in her 25th goal of the season in the 60th minute. Lindsay Taylor played a long ball into the box that was deflected by a Bruin defender, eventually finding the feet of Teresa Noyola on the endline. Noyola played the ball back out to a charging Press, who finished it from about 10 yards out.
"Obviously tonight, my heart goes out to my seniors," said Ellis. "I want to thank my seniors for what they brought to our program and I want to thank my team for the effort they had this year. It's been a tough and challenging year but I'm proud of the way the team battled, especially in the second half. I thought they left it all out on the field."
Despite surrendering three goals on the night, goalkeeper Chante' Sandiford made several great stops in goal, finishing the night with five saves. UCLA outshot the Cardinal, 14-13 in the final stats.
UCLA's loss on Friday marks the team's earliest NCAA Tournament exit since falling to Texas A&M in the round of 16 in 2002. The Bruins entered this season as the only team to appear in the last seven NCAA College Cups.