Top-Seeded UCLA Advances to NCAA Final
Dec. 2, 2005
College Station, Texas - For the second time in as many years, the top-seeded UCLA women's soccer team (22-1-2) finds itself just one win away from capturing the school's first-ever national title in women's soccer, as the Bruins posted a 4-0 victory over second-seeded Florida State in the NCAA Semifinals Friday before 6,701 fans at Texas A&M's Aggie Soccer Stadium. UCLA will face top-seeded Portland (22-0-2) in the NCAA Finals on Sunday at Noon (CST). Portland advanced following a 0-0 (4-3 PKs) win over Penn State earlier in the day.
(Note: Friday's match will be replayed on ESPN2 on Saturday, Dec. 3 at Noon (EST).
Freshman midfielder Christina DiMartino turned in her finest performance of the season Friday, recording her first multiple-goal game of the season. She put UCLA on the board in the 39th minute when a blocked shot by Jill Oakes bounced right to her. She ran onto it and buried it in the left corner of the goal, giving UCLA a 1-0 lead.
The Bruins weren't done however, as a little more than four minutes later sophomore midfielder Danesha Adams scored her 21st goal of the year off a set piece. Iris Mora sent a free kick into the box and Adams, with her back to the goal, was able to get a head on it and flick it over Florida State goalkeeper Ali Mims, who had come out to challenge the kick.
"I think once we got the first goal it gave us more confidence," said Adams. "We just needed to keep pounding, keep going and not stopping. We were still up and coach told us don't take your foot off the gas just keep going because a 2-0 lead is the most dangerous lead in soccer so just keep going after it."
UCLA did just that, scoring a pair of second half goals to put the game out of reach. DiMartino's second goal of the evening was also the Bruins' most spectacular. After McCall Zerboni gave her the ball in the top left side of the box, DiMartino beat two defenders before unleashing a bending ball into the top right corner of the goal.
Freshman forward Kara Lang capped the scoring in the 78th minute with her eighth goal of the postseason. Stephanie Kron took the ball down the right side of the field and crossed in a perfect ball to Lang, who was able to run onto it and one-time it past Mims for the Bruins' fourth goal of the evening.
"First off I'd like to congratulate Florida State on an excellent season," said UCLA head coach Jillian Ellis, who has now guided three different teams to the NCAA Finals (2000, 2004 and 2005). "They got to this point and I watched a lot of film on them and they're a very good team. So I'd like to congratulate them on their season. I'm just very proud of my players. I thought we prepared very well. I thought we had some challenging games along the way but we're playing good soccer. Ultimately I'm pleased but now we have to move forward to Sunday.
The Bruins are enjoying one of the finest tournaments in NCAA history, outscoring their opponents 25-0 in five postseason matches. It marks the second year in a row that UCLA has advanced to the NCAA Final without giving up a goal. In fact, the Bruins have given up just one goal in their last 11 tournament matches.
UCLA forward Iris Mora broke her own single-season assist record on Friday, recording her 15th of the season on the goal by Adams. Mora set the record with 14 back in 2003. She now has a UCLA career best 38 assists.
Goalkeeper Valerie Henderson also set a UCLA single-season mark Friday with her 20th win of the year. She entered the match tied with former Bruin CiCi Peterson, who had 19 wins in 2000. That was the year of the Bruins' first trip to the NCAA College Cup.
The four goals scored by UCLA Friday are the most ever allowed by Florida State in an NCAA Tournament game.
UCLA has never lost to Portland, leading the all-time series 3-0.
CLick for Bruin Video