Nov. 9, 2012
Los Angeles, Calif. - The fourth-ranked UCLA men's soccer team won their fourth Pac-12 title in five years and eighth overall after defeating the San Diego State Aztecs, 2-1, on Friday afternoon at Drake Stadium. Senior Ryan Hollingshead and junior Reed Williams scored second half goals to lead the Bruins to victory.
The Bruins claimed the Pac-12 crown by virtue of their 8-1-1 conference record, giving them a conference best 25 points. It is the second straight year that UCLA won the Pac-12 championship after they went a perfect 10-0-0 in 2011 to win the conference. In the 13 years that the Pac-12 has competed in men's soccer, UCLA has won the conference eight times, by far the most amongst the Pac-12 schools.
UCLA came out in the first half and took control of the possession early on, continually generating chances and keeping the Aztecs out of UCLA's half of the field. Despite outshooting San Diego State 8-3 in the first half though, the Bruins could not find the back of the net and the two teams went into the half tied at 0-0.
The Aztecs would be the ones to get on the board first, getting a goal in the 54th minute when Kevin Bick headed an Ata Ozbay corner kick past UCLA keeper Earl Edwards for his fifth goal of the season. The Bruins would not be down for long though, and just two minutes later leveled the match when Hollingshead headed a cross from Evan Raynr into the back of the net for his sixth goal of the year. The match slowed down a bit from there, but Hollingshead almost struck again when in the 72nd minute he broke away from the Aztec defense and went one-on-one with San Diego State goalie Blake Hylen. But Hylen rushed out and was able to stop Hollingshead from getting a shot to goal, keeping the match at 1-1.
Finally in the 73rd minute, the Bruins found that go-ahead goal when Williams took a great through ball from Raynr and blasted one far post for his team-leading seventh goal of the year, putting UCLA on top 2-1. From there, the UCLA defense held firm and didn't allow another shot from San Diego State, giving the Bruins the 2-1 victory and the 2012 Pac-12 championship.
Overall, UCLA outshot the Aztecs 15-4 in the match. Raynr and sophomore Leo Stolz each set up UCLA's goals in the match, notching two assists each. Raynr now leads the Bruins with nine assists on the year.
"First and foremost we're excited to win the Pac-12 again," head coach Jorge Salcedo said after the match. "It's a tribute to the hard work and dedication the guys have had for several months, not only during the preseason in August but also last year. We have accomplished our first goal and look forward to finding out what our seed is in the Tournament. This group is excited for the opportunity to be in the Tournament and hopefully will prepare for a good run to get back to the College Cup."
The Bruins (13-2-3) will now await NCAA selection as the NCAA airs its selection show on Monday, Nov. 12 at 2:30 pm PT live on NCAA.com. As the Pac-12 champion, UCLA is guaranteed an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.