Behind two goals from senior Victor Chavez and three assists from Pac-12 Player of the Year Leo Stolz, the top-seeded UCLA men’s soccer team advanced to the NCAA Third Round with a 4-0 win over Elon in the NCAA Second Round at Drake Stadium on Sunday night. Senior Joe Sofia and junior Aaron Simmons added goals for the Bruins as well.
UCLA improved to 12-3-4 with the win and will meet the unseeded Connecticut Huskies in the third round. The Bruins also improved to 24-12 all-time in the NCAA Second Round and are now 16-5 all-time in the postseason at Drake Stadium. Elon concluded its 2013 campaign with a 15-5-3 record.
The Bruins controlled the early possession and were rewarded with a great goal in the 12th minute. After a cross to the middle from senior Victor Munoz found its way through the box, sophomore Jordan Vale gathered the ball and sent it back to sophomore Grady Howe. Howe one-timed a pass to a wide open Chavez in the box, who back-heeled the ball into the back of the net for his seventh of the year.
UCLA then made it 2-0 in the 22nd minute, when Sofia gathered a corner kick from Stolz before firing the ball inside the near post for his first goal of the season. Nine minutes later, Simmons gave the Bruins a commanding 3-0 lead when he headed in a Stolz free kick in the box for his third goal of the year. From there, UCLA kept the Phoenix attack at bay and took its three-goal lead into the half.
Elon pressed forward at the beginning of the second half, putting the Bruins back on their heels. The back line of Howe, Sofia and freshmen Michael Amick and Nathan Smith, along with junior keeper Earl Edwards Jr. held firm though and kept the Phoenix out of the back of the net. Then in the 54th minute, Chavez added another as he headed home a cross from Stolz right in front of goal for his second of the night. Stolz notched his third assist of the game on the play, which is the most by a UCLA player in a postseason game since Cliff McKinley had three vs. Penn State in the 2002 NCAA Quarterfinals.
That would be all the scoring the Bruins would need and they went on to claim the four-goal win over the Phoenix.
Overall, Elon held a slight advantage in shots at 12-9. Edwards was superb in goal once again, making five saves on the evening to earn his 12th win of the year.
“We are very pleased with the result,” head coach Jorge Salcedo said after the match. “Three goals in the first half and four goals overall to go along with a shutout is a great way to start the Tournament. I still think that we can be better though. We can have better execution and better possession. Give a lot of credit to Elon as well. They never stopped fighting and have a very good mentality as a team so it was never an easy match, even though the score line was one-sided.”
The Bruins (12-3-4) will host the University of Connecticut (12-2-7) in the NCAA Third Round on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. out at Drake Stadium.
Salcedo added, “Looking forward to next week, UConn is a very talented team with some athletic players and a very good goalkeeper and we look forward to hosting them here on Sunday night.”