Dec. 9, 2011
Hoover, Ala. - Despite taking the lead twice during the match, the 13th-seeded UCLA Bruins saw their season come to an end as they fell to top-seeded North Carolina 2-2 (3-1 PKs) in the Semifinals of the NCAA College Cup.
North Carolina looked to attack early on and in the 15th minute, Tar Heel forward Rob Lovejoy jumped up in the box and put a header on net. Brian Rowe was there to make the save though to keep the Tar Heels out of the net. Finally in the 17th minute, Ryan Hollingshead put the Bruins ahead 1-0 after taking a pass from Chandler Hoffman and blasted one from the top of the box that hit the crossbar and went into the goal. It was Hollingshead's third goal of the season and Hoffman's fifth assist. North Carolina almost leveled the game in the 20th minute when Mikey Lopez took a cross at the far post and headed the ball on net. But Brian Rowe again came up big and stopped the shot to preserve the lead. The Tar Heels kept the pressure on and in the 27th minute Lovejoy found himself alone on the right side of the box, but Matt Wiet made a great sliding tackle to prevent a shot and clear the ball from danger.
Tar Heel forward Billy Schuler had a golden opportunity to tie the game in the 37th minute when he twisted a shot towards the right post from the top of the box. But yet again, Brian Rowe came up huge and dove and deflected the ball off the post to keep the game at 1-0. In the 44th minute, North Carolina again had a golden chance to tie the game when Ben Speas unleashed a hard shot from the top of the box that hit the left post and went out of play. The Bruins would keep the Tar Heels out of the net for the rest of the half and took their 1-0 lead into the half.
At the start of the second half, North Carolina again kept the pressure on UCLA and in the 54th minute, Lovejoy again had a chance to tie the game when he slid for a cross in front of keeper Brian Rowe. But the cross slid past Lovejoy and into the arms of Rowe and UCLA maintained their 1-0 lead. But the lead would not last long, as Lovejoy finally tied the game in the 56th minute after he headed in a cross from Speas to even the match at 1-1. In the 65th minute, Arreola had a golden chance to put UCLA ahead again when he got a rebound off of a Hollingshead shot and fired it over the net, thus keeping the score deadlocked. North Carolina countered and Speas again had a chance as he twisted a shot far post that forced Brian Rowe to make another great diving save to keep the game tied. Then in the 74th minute, Kelyn Rowe put the Bruins ahead 2-1 when he executed a great give-and-go with Hoffman and finished by chipping the ball over the keeper and into the net for his sixth goal of the year.
The Bruins did a good job of holding back the Tar Heels until the 85th minute, when Enzo Martinez took a shot from the top of the box that Brian Rowe stopped, but the rebound came to Billy Schuler and he converted to tie the game at 2-2. In the 86th minute, Fernando Monge almost put the Bruins ahead again just a minute later when he took a cross right in front of the keeper from Victor Munoz. But Tar Heel goalie Scott Goodwin stopped the shot to preserve the tie. Neither team could find the back of the net for the rest of regulation and the two sides went into overtime deadlocked at 2-2.
In the first overtime period, the Bruins had an opportunity when Kelyn Rowe took a long shot that was saved by Goodwin but played back to Monge, who was unable to head the ball on net as it sailed high. Both sides did not score and the match went to a second overtime. In the second overtime, Speas found himself alone on the left side of the box in the 104th minute and put a shot towards goal. But Joe Sofia came in and made a great block to keep the score even. In the waning seconds, North Carolina midfielder Kirk Urso put a shot towards the far post that almost got past Brian Rowe. But Rowe was just able to get a touch on it to save the ball and send the game to penalty kicks.
UCLA was first to go in the penalty kick stage and Andy Rose missed the first PK when Tar Heel keeper Scott Goodwin saved the shot. The Tar Heels would make their next two PKs and Kelyn Rowe's penalty was saved by Goodwin again to give North Carolina a 2-0 lead. Despite Brian Rowe saving the third penalty kick, the Bruins simply could not overcome the early deficit and fell to the Tar Heels 3-1 on penalty kicks.
Overall, North Carolina outshot UCLA 22-16 in the match. Brian Rowe made nine saves on the night, but saw his eight game scoreless streak snapped. However, Rowe does finish the year with 12 shutouts, which is tied for the third most in a single-season in UCLA history. Chandler Hoffman provided two assists in the match as well in his return to his hometown. Hoffman also finishes the year with 18 goals and 42 points, the most goals by a Bruin since Joe-Max Moore in 1991 and the most points by a UCLA player since Seth George had 42 in 1997.
For their efforts, Ryan Hollingshead and Chandler Hoffman were each named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team. Hoffman had three goals and two assists in four games in the NCAA Tournament while Hollingshead had one goal and four assists.
The Bruins finished the season 18-4-2 and went undefeated in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2003. The team's 18 wins are also the most by a Bruins squad since 2003.