Nov. 13, 2006
UCLA vs. Harvard -- The eighth-seeded UCLA men's soccer team (10-5-4, ranked No. 14 in the Soccer America poll and No. 22 in the NSCAA poll) will host Harvard (14-4-0, ranked No. 13 by the NSCAA and No. 16 by Soccer America) in NCAA second round action on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at Frank W. Marshall Field at Drake Stadium. The game will kick off at 7 pm. UCLABruins.com will offer a free audio broadcast, as well as live stats. Tickets will be sold at the gate for $8 for adults and $6 for students/youth.
How They Got Here -- As the eighth seed, UCLA received a first round bye. The Bruins qualified for their 24th consecutive NCAA Tournament by gaining an at-large bid into the tournament. Harvard received an automatic bid by winning the Ivy League and then won its first-round game against Binghamton, 2-1. The Crimson came from behind to win the game with a pair of second-half goals by Michael Fucito and Andre Apkan.
Bruins Reach Tournament For 24th Straight Year -- UCLA's selection into the NCAA Tournament is its 24th consecutive and 34th overall. UCLA's NCAA streak is the second-longest active streak in the nation, and the 34 NCAA appearances are second only to Saint Louis' 42. UCLA has won national championships in 1985, 1990, 1997 and 2002. The Bruins' all-time NCAA record is 55-30.
UCLA Posts 40th Consecutive Winning Record -- With another winning season in the books, the Bruins have increased their NCAA record for consecutive winning seasons to 40. UCLA has posted winning seasons in every season since 1967. The Bruins have 14 more years of winning seasons from 1953-1966, but soccer was not an NCAA sport at UCLA at the time.
UCLA vs. Tournament Field -- The Bruins played an astounding 12 games out of 19 against NCAA Tournament teams, posting a record of 6-5-1. UCLA has victories over New Mexico (2-0 on Sept. 8), Santa Clara (2-1 on Sept. 15), San Francisco (2-0 on Sept. 17), Washington (2-1 in double overtime on Sept. 29), UC Santa Barbara (3-1 on Oct. 5) and San Diego State (2-1 on Oct. 8), as well as a tie against San Diego State (1-1 on Nov. 3). All of UCLA's losses this season have come to NCAA Tournament teams, including four against Top 16 seeds (No. 4 Virginia, No. 5 Maryland, No. 13 California twice).
Potential Third Round Matchup -- The winner of Wednesday's game will move on to play the winner of the Clemson/Gardner-Webb second round game. If UCLA wins its second round game, the third round game will take place at Drake Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 7 pm.
In The Rankings -- UCLA ranks No. 14 in the Soccer America poll, No. 22 in the NSCAA and College Soccer News polls and No. 15 in the Soccer Times poll. Harvard is ranked No. 13 by the NSCAA, No. 16 by Soccer America and College Soccer News and No. 22 by Soccer Times.
Scouting The Crimson -- Harvard, who is currently riding a nine-game winning streak, boasts the top-scoring offense in the nation, averaging 2.5 goals per game. The Crimson have six players in double figure points, led by Top Drawer Soccer National Freshman of the Year Andre Apkan, who has scored 34 points (11 goals, 12 assists). Two-time Ivy League Player of the Year Charles Altchek leads the team in goals scored with 12 and is second in points scored with 28. Also in double figure scoring are Michael Fucito (9g, 9a, 27 pts), Matt Hoff (5g, 3a, 13 pts), John Stamatis (3g, 7a, 13 pts), and Kwaku Nyamekye (3g, 5a). Goalkeeper Adam Hahn holds a goals against average of 1.37 with 62 saves in 18 games.
Prior Matchup -- UCLA and Harvard have met just one time, in 1984, with the Bruins winning, 2-0, in Los Angeles.
Eight Bruins Earn All-Pac-10 Honors -- Eight UCLA players received All-Pac-10 honors this season, with junior defender Mike Zaher and sophomore midfielder Sal Zizzo leading the way with first team honors. Zaher, the Bruins' defensive leader at left back, received his first career conference nod. He has scored two goals with one assist this season. Zizzo, who ranks second in the Pac-10 in assists with eight and third on the Bruin team in scoring with 12 points, improves his standing from last season, when he earned second-team honors. Zizzo was also last season's Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. Receiving second-team acclaim were freshman forward David Estrada (8g, 3a, 19 points), sophomore forward Jason Leopoldo (6g, 3a, 15 points) and senior defender Kiel McClung (1g, 2a, 4 points). Making the honorable mention team were freshman midfielder Kyle Nakazawa (3g, 4a, 10 points), senior goalkeeper Eric Reed (7-4-1 record, 3 shutouts, 1.23 GAA) and sophomore defender Brad Rusin (16 games played).
Top Drawer Soccer Honors Zizzo, Five Freshmen -- Six UCLA men's soccer players were honored by Top Drawer Soccer in the internet site's year-end awards. Sophomore midfielder Sal Zizzo was named to the National Team of the Season (First Team), while five freshmen were selected to the All-Rookie Team - first-teamers Kyle Nakazawa, Michael Stephens and David Estrada, and second-teamers Brian Perk and Chance Myers.
Regular Season In Review -- UCLA went through a difficult series of challenges to get to the post-season. Not only did the Bruins have to play arguably the most difficult schedule in the nation, with 12 games against NCAA Tournament teams, but they had to do it without several key players who were out due to injuries and with a mainly under-class team.
The season started off rough before any games were even played. Senior defender Brandon Owens tore his ACL in the spring and did not play this year. He will apply for a redshirt season. Junior defender Edwige Ligonde suffered a stress fracture in his left tibia in pre-season training and will also apply for a redshirt year. Freshman forward Robert Georgiefski tore his left ACL and medial meniscus in an exhibition game on Aug. 20.
When the season started, the Bruins had to adjust to the losses of those players, not to mention adjust to a team filled with 13 newcomers, including 12 freshmen. The regular season started with a tie against Cal State Northridge in the season opener and a pair of road losses to No. 1 Maryland and No. 3 Virginia. The schedule wasn't getting much easier, as the Bruins took their winless record to 2005 NCAA runner-up New Mexico. But in front of a crowd of over 3,000 Lobo fans, the Bruins recorded a 2-0 shutout victory thanks to a pair of goals by Maxwell Griffin. The Bruins won their next game against Oakland, 4-1, and returned home to host a pair of undefeated Top 10 squads in Santa Clara and San Francisco. Griffin was instrumental in both games, scoring the game's first goal in the 2-1 win over Santa Clara and the game-winning goal in the 2-0 shutout victory over San Francisco. Griffin was subsequently named the National Player of the Week by the NSCAA, Soccer America and Soccer Times.
Unfortunately, in the Bruins' next game at California on Sept. 22, Griffin's season came to a sudden end when he tore his left ACL just three minutes into the game. Then in the 21st minute, midfielder Tony Beltran, a member of the U.S. Under-20 National Team, went down with an ankle injury that kept him off the field for a month. With the Bruins reeling from the loss of those two players, they dropped a 3-1 decision to the Golden Bears and then tied Stanford two days later, 1-1.
A date with fourth-ranked and undefeated Washington was next on the agenda for the Bruins, and for the third time in the season, another Top 10 team tasted its first defeat at the hands of UCLA. The Bruins defeated the Huskies 2-1 in double overtime on a goal by freshman midfielder James Jaramillo, who was starting in place of the injured Beltran, with 18 seconds left to play. The win was the first in a five-game winning streak that eventually propelled the Bruins into the Top 10 in the national rankings. UCLA added a home win over Oregon State and road wins at UC Santa Barbara, San Diego State and Oregon State before the win streak was stopped at Washington.
Despite the loss to the Huskies, the Bruins were still in position to defend their Pac-10 title but fell short after losing to Cal. The Bruins rebounded with a big 3-1 win over San Diego in the regular season finale to finish the year 6-2-2 in their last 10 games.
Estrada Extravaganza -- Freshman forward David Estrada has been on a scoring tear in the second half of the season, netting goals in seven of his last eight games to move into the team lead in goals scored (eight) and points (19) and into third in the Pac-10 in those two categories. Estrada has scored 17 of his 19 points in the last nine games alone. The success of the walk-on from Salinas, Calif. should be no surprise to anyone familiar with his high school career. At Alisal HS last year, Estrada scored a national-best 66 goals, including 11 in one game, the second-most single-game goals in state history.
Freshmen No Longer -- With all of the playing time UCLA's highly-touted 12-man freshman class has received this season, they can practically be considered veterans now. The Bruins have relied heavily on the freshmen class, and they have responded. Forward David Estrada leads the team in scoring with eight goals and 19 points. Midfielder Kyle Nakazawa has started in all 19 games and ranks fifth on the team in scoring with 10 points (3g, 4a). Midfielder Michael Stephens has started in the last 17 games and has seen action in all 19. He has recorded one goal and two assists on the year. Defender Chance Myers has played in 16 games with five starts and has recorded three assists. Midfielder James Jaramillo has played in 16 games with nine starts and scored the game-winning goal in double overtime against Washington. Midfielder Andrew Sinderhoff has logged three starts and played in 12 games, recording his first collegiate goal against Oakland. Goalkeeper Brian Perk has posted a record of 3-1-3 with 29 saves. Defenders Patrick Rickards and Ryan White have played in six games, and Danny Suits has played in five.
National Teamers -- UCLA has a plethora of U.S. Youth National Team members on its roster. Fourteen of the 26 players on the roster have been in the National Team program, with several seeing action this fall. In August, Sal Zizzo, Tony Beltran and Chance Myers played with the Under-20 National Team at the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland and led the U.S. to the championship game. Freshman goalkeeper Brian Perk has been called up twice for Under-20 National Team duty during the season, playing in the Busan International Tournament in Korea Aug. 25-Sept. 2 and joining the team for a four-day training camp in Florida from Oct. 8-12, with a friendly against Haiti on Oct. 11. Perk recorded two caps at the Busan Tournament when he started against both Korea and Argentina. He earned the victory against Argentina, allowing just one late goal while making five saves. Perk, the youngest player in the U-20 camp (he just turned 17 on July 21), also started against Haiti in October, playing 45 shutout minutes. Perk now has 20 career caps with the U-17s, U-18s and U-20s.