Nov. 24, 2006
LOS ANGELES - The second-seeded UCLA women's soccer team earned a trip to the NCAA College Cup for the fourth year in a row on Friday, as the Bruins notched a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Portland in a quarterfinal showdown before 1,457 fans at Drake Stadium. The Bruins (21-3), who exacted some revenge after losing to the Pilots in last year's final, move on to face top-seeded North Carolina on Friday, Dec. 1 in Cary, NC.
Portland, which was playing its first-ever match at UCLA, struck first on Friday, getting on the board in the sixth minute on an unassisted goal by Rachael Rapinoe. Portland was awarded a free kick just outside the box, and Rapinoe stepped up and hit a bending ball into the right corner, just past the outstretched hands of Bruin goalkeeper Valerie Henderson.
The Pilots didn't enjoy the lead for long however, as the Bruins answered back less than three minutes later on a goal by sophomore midfielder McCall Zerboni. Junior Danesha Adams sent a corner kick into the box and senior Bristyn Davis managed to get a foot on it. The ball eventually found its way to Zerboni, who finished it from about six yards out.
UCLA scored what eventually was the game winner in the 70th minute after Christina DiMartino was brought down on the left side of the box, resulting in a penalty kick. Freshman forward Lauren Cheney took the kick, scoring her team-leading 19th goal of the season. It also marked her eighth game-winning goal of the year, a new UCLA freshman record.
"You give up a goal early like that and it makes the other team the hunted," said UCLA head coach Jillian Ellis, who has now guided the Bruins to five College Cup appearances. "It's a hard position to be in with so much time left."
With the win, UCLA extends its home unbeaten streak to 27 matches. The Bruins were a dominating 16-0 at home this season. UCLA also moves to 4-1 all-time against Portland.
"We like playing at home, and not having to travel helps," added Ellis. I tell (the team) that from the start. The motivation to win all those non-conference games is to be able to play at home now. It's exciting and rewarding."
UCLA goalkeeper Valerie Henderson finished with two saves on the evening, one of which was a clutch stop on a breakaway by Kendra Chandhoke in the 49th minute. The Bruins outshot the pilots 17-4 on the evening.
UCLA will be the only team at this year's College Cup that has participated in the event the previous three years.