Aug. 21, 2008
UCLA women's soccer head coach Jillian Ellis and forward Lauren Cheney are coming back to Westwood as Olympic champions after the U.S. defeated Brazil in the gold medal match Thursday, 1-0.
Ellis, the team's assistant coach, and Cheney, a substitute forward, helped the U.S. win gold for the third time in four Olympics. Cheney entered the game in the 71st minute and played 49 minutes. The Bruin junior had a hand in the winning goal in the sixth minute of overtime, starting the play with a feed to Carli Lloyd 25 yards out. Lloyd one-timed it to Amy Rodriguez at the top of the box. Rodriguez returned the ball to Lloyd with a backheel pass, and Lloyd beat Brazilian goalkeeper Barbara with a low shot to the far side for the go-ahead goal.
Cheney also had a key clearance late in the game, heading away a dangerous corner kick in front of the goal to help preserve the shutout.
U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo and the U.S. defense were outstanding against two-time FIFA Player of the Year Marta and the Olympic Games' leading goal scorer Cristiane, keeping the two scoreless.
Women's Water Polo
The U.S. women's water polo team earned the silver medal, dropping a 9-8 decision to the Netherlands in the gold-medal match on Thursday evening in Beijing. Former UCLA standout Natalie Golda scored one goal for Team USA, who rallied from an early 4-0 deficit to tie the contest, 5-5, with just over two minutes to play in the first half.
Golda scored with 5:41 remaining in the second quarter, reducing the Dutch lead to 5-3. Former UCLA goalkeeper Jaime Hipp did not play. The U.S. women's team is led by former UCLA head coach Guy Baker.
The Netherlands' Danielle de Bruijn scored her seventh goal of the game with 26 seconds left to break an 8-8 tie. Team USA missed two good shots in the final 10 seconds, including one off the post by Brenda Villa. The Americans captured their third medal in as many Olympic Games since the inception of women's water polo as an Olympic sport in 2000. Team USA captured the silver medal that year in Sydney and won the bronze medal in 2004 in Athens.
The U.S. softball team was stunned in the gold-medal game on Thursday, falling to Japan 3-1 at Fengtai Softball Field. The loss snapped the Americans' 22-game winning streak in the Olympics, as they were denied their fourth consecutive gold medal.
All four former Bruins on the team were in the starting lineup, with Natasha Watley (1-for-4 at the plate) at shortstop, Andrea Duran at third, Stacey Nuveman behind the plate and Tairia Mims Flowers at first. Following the game, Flowers walked to home plate carrying her cleats and placed them in the batters box as a tribute, acknowledging her retirement from international competition.
Track & Field
Amy Acuff cleared 6-2.25 (1.89m) in the high jump and tied for seventh in her flight but did not advance to the final.
Allyson Felix, another Bobby Kersee-coached athlete, finished second in the 200m to earn a silver medal (21.93).
Click HERE for photos from Aug. 21 Olympic action.
Gold - 3 (Lauren Cheney, w. soccer; Dawn Harper, track & field, 100m hurdles; Mark Hunter, rowing, lightweight double sculls)
Silver - 7 (Andrea Duran, softball; Tairia Flowers, softball; Natalie Golda, w. water polo; Jaime Hipp, w. water polo; Stacey Nuveman, softball; Sheena Tosta, track & field, 400m hurdles; Natasha Watley, softball)
Bronze - 2 (Kim Vandenberg, swimming, 4x200m free relay; Tanya Harding, softball)
Note: Jillian Ellis and Guy Baker coached teams to medals. Ellis was an assistant coach for the gold medal-winning U.S. women's soccer team, and Guy Baker was the head coach of the silver medal-winning U.S. women's water polo team. Coaches are not awarded medals at the Olympic Games.