Top-seeded UCLA (11-3-4) will open up NCAA Tournament play this weekend when the Bruins take on Elon (15-4-3) in an NCAA Second Round matchup on Sunday, Nov. 24 at 8 pm out at Drake Stadium. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for youth (children 16 and younger) and can be purchased at the gate.
Live Coverage — Fans can follow the match on the internet via a live audio broadcast at uclabruins.com. Greg Mescall and Erin Cole will have the call live from Drake Stadium. Fans can also follow the match via Gametracker. Links are available at uclabruins.com on the events calendar on the front page.
Bruins Reach Tournament For 31st Consecutive Year — UCLA earned its 31st consecutive and 41st overall NCAA Tournament berth by receiving an at-large bid and earning the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, the first time they have been the No. 1 overall seed since the 2003 season. The Bruins' NCAA streak is the second-longest active streak in the nation behind Virginia (33 straight appearances), and their 41 all-time NCAA appearances are second only to Saint Louis' 47. UCLA has an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 67-37 with 13 College Cup appearances and national championships in 1985, 1990, 1997 and 2002.
UCLA vs. Tournament Field — 11 of UCLA's 18 regular season matches this season came against teams that made the NCAA Tournament, with the Bruins owning a record of 7-2-2 against those teams. UCLA defeated unseeded teams Indiana and Stanford (twice), No. 2 seed Washington, No. 4 seed California, No. 10 seed UC Santa Barbara and No. 15 seed Cal State Northridge. The Bruins dropped matches to California and No. 12 seed UC Irvine while earning draws at Washington and vs. No. 3 seed Notre Dame.
In The Rankings — UCLA finished the regular season ranked No. 1 by the NSCAA and College Soccer News. The Bruins are also ranked No. 2 by Soccer America and Top Drawer Soccer. In the NCAA RPI, UCLA finished the regular season at No. 1. Elon is ranked No. 18 by Soccer America, No. 22 by College Soccer News, No. 24 by the NSCAA and No. 25 by Top Drawer Soccer. The Phoenix finished the regular season ranked No. 26 in the NCAA RPI as well.
How They Got Here: UCLA — UCLA received an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament after finishing second in the Pac-12 Conference. The Bruins earned the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament and a bye in the first round by virtue of their 11-3-4 overall record and 6-1-3 conference record. UCLA finished the season winning its final four matches and has suffered only one loss in its last 12.
How They Got Here: Elon — Elon advanced to the NCAA second round after defeating Clemson at home 1-1 (4-1 on PKs) to pick up its first NCAA Tournament victory in school history. The Phoenix earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament by winning the Southern Conference Tournament title for the third straight season after finishing second in the regular season with a conference record of 4-2-0. Elon currently sports a 15-4-3 overall record heading into its matchup with UCLA. Junior forward Jason Waterman leads the Phoenix with 12 goals and seven assists on the season to give him a team-leading 31 points. Southern Conference Player of the Year Daniel Lovitz will anchor the midfield for Elon, as he has scored four goals and notched six assists in 17 matches. Finally, head coach Darren Powell is in his ninth season at the helm of Elon and received Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors in 2013.
The Series With Elon — This will be the first all-time meeting on the soccer field between UCLA and Elon. The Bruins have played five all-time matches against Southern Conference opponents, winning four of them. UCLA is 3-1 all-time against Davidson, last playing the Wildcats in 2010, and is 1-0 vs. Furman, with the only meeting coming in 1994.
Last Time Out For UCLA — The Bruins closed out the regular season with a 3-0 win at San Diego State on Nov. 16, improving their unbeaten streak against the Aztecs to 13 straight matches. In the 28th minute, freshman Gage Zerboni put the Bruins ahead, 1-0, with a header on the left side off a Jordan Vale cross for his fourth of the year. UCLA would make it 2-0 in the 41st minute, when Stolz dribbled down the field and buried a shot into the bottom left-hand corner for his team-leading eighth goal of the year. Vale also assisted on Stolz's goal for his second assist of the match. Stolz would put the finishing touches on the shutout win with his second goal of the game in the 58th minute, handing the Bruins the 3-0 victory. Junior goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. matched a season-high with seven saves in the match as well.
NCAA Experience — 12 UCLA players have had at least one game of NCAA Tournament experience in their time at the school. Seniors Reed Williams, Patrick Matchett and Joe Sofia have the most Tournament experience of the group, playing in eight postseason matches in their careers. Junior forward Victor Chavez has three NCAA Tournament goals in seven matches to lead the team while Williams leads the 2013 squad with four career postseason assists and eight career postseason points. Junior keeper Earl Edwards Jr. has made one career postseason start, playing in the Bruins' NCAA Second Round match against San Diego last season. Sophomore Jordan Vale and junior Aaron Simmons both have NCAA Tournament experience with other schools. Vale led Syracuse to the NCAA Quarterfinals last season, scoring a goal and logging two assists in three starts while Simmons made two starts in two years at SMU, tallying an assist. UCLA has made it to at least the Quarterfinal stage in three of the last four seasons with a College Cup appearance in 2011.
Leo Stolz Named Pac-12 Player of the Year — For the third straight year, a member of the UCLA men's soccer team took home conference Player of the Year honors, as junior midfielder Leo Stolz was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year. This is the first time in Pac-12 history that a team has had a player win the conference Player of the Year award in three consecutive seasons. Stolz became the sixth UCLA player all-time to be named Pac-12 Player of the Year, joining Ryan Hollingshead (2012), Kelyn Rowe (2011), Michael Stephens (2008), Patrick Ianni (2004) and Matt Taylor (2003). The Munich, Germany native led the Pac-12 with 23 points during the regular season, which is also good for 38th-best in the country. Stolz, who has played in all 18 of UCLA’s matches thus far, has also scored a Pac-12 leading four game-winning goals. Additionally, the junior midfielder has recorded at least one point in eight of his last 12 matches and was named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week three times this season.
Six Bruins Named to the All-Pac-12 Team — The Bruins also landed six players on the Pac-12 All-Conference team in 2013, highlighted by two first-team selections. Juniors Leo Stolz and Earl Edwards Jr. earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors while seniors Victor Chavez and Victor Munoz, and junior Aaron Simmons received second-team accolades. Senior Joe Sofia received honorable mention. Edwards, who served as UCLA’s co-captain this year, had a terrific regular season in goal for the Bruins, starting all 18 matches and logging 65 saves with a 1.11 GAA. Munoz led UCLA with eight assists during the regular season while Chavez earned All-Pac-12 honors for the fourth straight season, making him the first UCLA player to accomplish the feat since David Estrada did it from 2006-09. Chavez is second on the team to Stolz with 18 points thus far (6 g, 6 a) and ranks in the top-10 in the Pac-12 in points (7th), goals (t-5th) and assists (t-7th). Simmons played a crucial role for the Bruins in the defensive midfield all season, helping the team earn six shutouts while scoring two goals. Finally, Sofia earned All-Pac-12 honors for the third straight year with his honorable mention selection in 2013. He has served as the co-captain along with Edwards this season and has anchored the UCLA back line all year.
Giant Killers — UCLA has defeated four top-3 opponents this season, including two teams that were ranked No. 1 at the time of their matchup with the Bruins. UCLA dispatched top-ranked Indiana, 1-0, on Sept. 1 before defeating third-ranked Cal State Northridge on Sept. 22, with both wins coming on the road. The Bruins then took care of No. 3 Washington at home and No. 1 California on the road by matching scores of 2-1 on Oct. 27 and Nov. 3 respectively. Overall, the Bruins are 4-1-2 against ranked opponents this season.
Head Coach Jorge Salcedo — UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo is in his 10th season at the helm of the program, posting an all-time record of 129-48-32. He has coached UCLA to eight Pac-12 Titles as an assistant coach or head coach and is a four-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year (co-coach in 2004, winner in 2008, 2011 and 2012). Salcedo has also led UCLA to two College Cup appearances and is the second-longest tenured men's soccer head coach in UCLA's NCAA history.
Defending Drake — The Bruins hold a record of 15-5 in NCAA Tournament games at Drake Stadium and are 101-20-16 all-time at Drake Stadium, good for a .796 winning percentage. UCLA finished the 2013 regular season with a 6-2-1 home record. In addition, the Bruins are drawing well at the turnstiles, leading the conference in average home attendance at 1,164. On the road UCLA is averaging a crowd of 2,056, also a Pac-12 best.
Seven Bruins Named to Pac-12 All-Academic Team — A total of seven UCLA men’s soccer players were named to the 2013 Pac-12 All-Academic team. Seniors Ryan Lee, Patrick Matchett and Joe Sofia, and sophomore Grady Howe were all named to the first team while senior Reed Williams was named to the second team. Senior Max Estrada and junior Leo Stolz received honorable mention.
Road Warriors — UCLA has posted a terrific record on the road in the last few seasons, going 20-1-6 in its last 27 road or neutral site matches. The Bruins went unbeaten on the road last season, going 8-0-2, and have a 5-1-3 record in road and neutral site contests this season. Prior to the loss at UC Irvine on Sept. 19, the Bruins had not lost a road or neutral site match since 2011. UCLA is also unbeaten its last 19 Pac-12 road matches dating back to 2010.
Six Bruins On To TDS's "100 Players To Watch" List — Seniors Joe Sofia and Victor Chavez and junior Leo Stolz were all named to Top Drawer Soccer's Midseason "100 Players to Watch" list. Stolz came in at No. 9 on the list while Sofia is ranked No. 18. Chavez is ranked as the No. 29 player to watch. Additionally, three Bruins were selected to Top Drawer Soccer's "Top 100 Freshmen to Watch" list. Michael Amick (No. 12), Brian Iloski (No. 22) and Nathan Smith (No. 85) were all selected to the list. Amick helped lead the Bruins to six shutouts during the regular season while Smith has scored one goal and notched two assists in 14 matches. Iloski logged one goal and one assist on the season before missing the second half due to injury.
Joe Sofia Named Senior Class Award Finalist — Senior defender Joe Sofia has been selected as one of 10 finalists for the 2013 Men's Soccer Senior CLASS Award. Sofia, a native of Dove Canyon, Calif., has upheld a 3.965 cumulative GPA in communication studies and is on track to graduate after the Fall quarter after just three years and one quarter. He has held the highest GPA among all of UCLA’s student-athletes since the spring of 2012 and has made the Director’s Honor Roll in every one of his quarters at UCLA (nine times in total). Sofia has been very active in the community as well, developing an anti-bullying curriculum with some fellow student-athletes that will be distributed to local middle schools later this fall. On the field, Sofia has played in 80 matches in his four-year career, starting 78 of them. This season, he has started 17 of UCLA's 18 matches while serving as the team captain and the anchor of the back line. Additionally, Sofia leads all UCLA position players in minutes with 1,514.