Nov. 1, 1999
* In the most anticipated match of the season, No. 20 UCLA (13-4-1 overall, 5-2-1 in Pac-10) and No. 11 USC (14-4-0, 7-1) go head-to-head on Sunday, Nov. 7 at 10:30 am at UCLA's North Athletic Field. The Pac-10 conference matchup, which will be a doubleheader with the UCLA men's team, is the final regular-season game for both squads. UCLA leads the series against the Trojans 6-2. Last year's 4-5 loss to USC ultimately cost the Bruins an outright Pac-10 crown, and the Bruins landed in a three-way tie with Cal and USC as Pac-10 Co-Champions. This season, the game once again holds Pac-10 and playoff indications, as a Bruin win could improve UCLA's tournament seeding and a USC loss could cost the Trojans the conference title.
Game Date Correction
* Please note that the UCLA/USC game will be played on Sunday, Nov. 7 at 10:30 am and not on Nov. 6, as indicated on earlier schedules.
The Teams Compared
* UCLA and USC have both had extremely successful seasons, with both teams ranking at an all-time regular-season high No. 7 during the year. In addition, this is only the second time that both teams will be ranked when they face each other (first on Oct. 26, 1997--USC #15, UCLA #19). USC currently leads the Pac-10 in conference standings (.875 winning percentage), with its only loss coming at the hands of Stanford. The Bruins rank fourth in the conference with a 5-2-1 Pac-10 record. In team points, UCLA ranks second in the conference with 128, while the Trojans trail close behind with 127.
* The UCLA-USC rivalry is one of the most heated and longstanding ones in college sports. Last year's game was selected by Soccer America as one of the five games in the nation that would be 'Worth the Trip.' When UCLA last hosted the Trojans in 1997, it was in front of a record crowd of 2,373. This week's game is expected to draw an even larger crowd due to the success of both teams this year and the doubleheader with the men's team.
"Big Rival Weekend"
* This week's "Big Rival Weekend" kicks off on Sunday, Nov. 7 when the UCLA and USC women meet at 10:30 am followed by the men's game at 1 pm. The No. 2 UCLA men will battle No. 13 Cal State Fullerton for the MPSF Pacific Division title. A UCLA win would automatically give UCLA the title, and a Fullerton win would give the crown to Fullerton in a tie-breaker. Both games will be held at the North Athletic Field.
UCLA in the Polls
* For the second week in a row, UCLA is ranked No. 20 in the NSCAA poll. In other polls, the Bruins are currently slated at No. 17 in SoccerTimes and No. 18 in High Tech Women's Soccer.
The Pac-10 Race
* After this weekend's loss to Oregon, the preseason conference co-favorite Bruins fell out of the Pac-10 race, losing the chance of reclaiming what would have been their third consecutive Pac-10 title. Despite this, a win over USC this Sunday could knock the first place Trojans off the conference throne. Stanford (13-4, 6-1) needs two weekend wins over the Washington schools to capture a first-place conference finish.
Bruins Leading the Nation
* Last week (through games to Oct. 24), the Bruins ranked among the nation's Top 20 in scoring offense and winning percentage. UCLA ranked 19th in scoring offense, averaging 2.75 goals per game. The Bruins were also 19th in winning percentage (.786).
* The Bruins recorded their eighth shutout of the season in a 2-0 win over Oregon State this past Friday but were unable to walk away with a weekend sweep, falling 1-2 to Oregon Sunday. Sophomore forward Staci Duncan led the Bruins with four points over the weekend, scoring both of UCLA's goals against the Beavers. Duncan's first goal of the game, which proved to be the game-winner, came after a long downfield pass from forward Jessica Winton. Duncan dribbled down the center of the field and then shot past the OSU goalkeeper from 12 yards out. Her second goal came in the 61st minute when she dribbled in from the left wing and shot from 10 yards out, tucking the ball inside the far post. Against Oregon this past Sunday, the Bruins came out strong in the second half, registering 12 shots to the Ducks' two, but were unable to pull away with the win. Junior forward Tracey Milburn locked the score at one in the 59th minute, but just over a minute later, the Ducks iced the victory when midfielder Melissa Parker drilled in a shot past UCLA keeper CiCi Peterson.
Leading the Offense
* Freshman forward Jessica Winton continues to lead the Bruins with 26 points (11g, 4a), which place her fourth in the Pac-10. In goals scored, Winton is tied for second in the conference. Her 11 goals this season put her atop UCLA's scoring list, and she is only three goals shy of breaking the freshman record of goals scored in a season (14 by Traci Arkenberg in 1994). In addition, Winton is only the second freshman in school history to have recorded a hat trick (Sept. 10 vs. UNC Charlotte). For her sensational performance against UNCC, she was awarded the UCLA/MET-Rx Student Athlete of the Week award for the week of Sept. 6-12. Also leading the offense is Duncan, whose two goals over the weekend helped place her second on UCLA's scoring list with nine goals. Milburn is currently tied with Duncan in goals scored, and she ranks second on the squad with 22 points (9g, 4a), followed closely by Duncan's 21 points (9g, 3a).
* The Bruin defense, led by senior Skylar Little, junior Karissa Hampton and sophomore Krista Boling, has traditionally been a strong feature of UCLA women's soccer, and this year is no exception. The "No Goal Patrol," the self-proclaimed title of the Bruin defense, continues to hold back opponents. On the season, UCLA has recorded eight shutouts, including a four-game shutout streak from Sept. 6-17, which ties for longest consecutive shutout streak ever. The '99 Bruin defense has also held opponents to five or less shots in six games and five or less shots on goal in 12 games.
Guarding the Net
* Both senior Lindsay Culp and sophomore CiCi Peterson have done an excellent job this season guarding the net for the Bruins. Culp has ranked among the nation's best this year, ranking as high as No. 2 with her 0.32 goals against average (through games played Oct. 10), and has also led the conference in individual goalkeeping throughout most of the season. Culp currently ranks fifth (1.26 GAA) in the Pac-10, while Peterson is sixth (1.31 GAA).
*Bruin seniors Skylar Little, Bree Edwards and Lindsay Culp have been key factors in UCLA's success this year. Defender Little is one of only four players to have started all 18 of UCLA's games this season, while midfielder Edwards has started 13 games. Little, the '99 Wake Forest Invitational MVP, was named to Soccer America's Team of the Week for the week of Sept. 6-12 for her stifling defense during the tournament. Edwards has played a key role in helping the Bruin defense smother opponents and has pitched in two assists this season. Culp has played in 11 games this season and earned five of UCLA's seven shutouts. With Culp in goal, the Bruins are 9-2.
NCAA Tournament Bracket Announced
* The brackets for the 1999 NCAA women's soccer playoffs will be announced on Sunday, November 7 at 7 pm Pacific time. The selection show will be broadcast on television on Empire Sports and the Sunshine Network. It can also be viewed with the use of a C Band 'movable' satellite dish (galaxy 6, transponder 11). Members of the media who wish to view the selection show should call Colette Jue at 310-206-8075 for further information.