Nov. 30, 2009

Courtesy of UCLA Athletics

Los Angeles, CA - In a rematch of the 2006 NCAA Championship game, it was UCLA who came away victorious this year, claiming a 2-1 victory over UC Santa Barbara to advance to the NCAA quarterfinals to face Wake Forest. The Bruins came from behind to win, scoring two unanswered goals after the Gauchos scored the first goal in the 11th minute. Sophomore Fernando Monge tied the score four minutes later, and freshman Ryan Hollingshead scored the game-winner in the 37th minute.

The Gauchos struck first on a David Walker goal at 10:17 after a takeaway. Peter McGlynn set up the goal with a cross from the right side to Walker, who took a shot from close range. UCLA goalkeeper Brian Perk sprawled to make the save and somehow managed to get a hand on the ball, but it crossed the plane of the goal before he tapped it out.

The Bruins were quick to respond. In the 15th minute, UCLA earned a corner kick. After the ball batted around a bit in the box, Andy Rose got a shot off that UCSB goalkeeper Sam Hayden saved, but the rebound went to Monge, who shot it in from close range at 14:24 for his second goal of the year.

UCLA went ahead 2-1 in the 37th minute after a steal by Kyle Nakazawa at midfield. Hollingshead and Nakazawa engaged in a nice give-and-go near the top of the box, and Hollingshead finished with a shot to the right corner that gave the Bruins the lead they would not relinquish. The goal was Hollingshead's fourth of the year and his second game-winner.

UC Santa Barbara pushed the attack in the second half, looking for the equalizer. The Gauchos managed 11 of their 16 shots in the second half. Although Perk was credited with only two saves, he made several big stops on dangerous balls in the box to thwart the Gaucho attack. UCLA's back four of Andy Rose, Sean Alvarado, Luis Serrano and Shawn Singh also came up with big blocks and clearances to keep the Gauchos off the board.

Perk's two saves were huge ones. At 73:20, he made a big save on a hard shot by Josue Madueno, and with 56 seconds left on the clock, UCSB's Luis Silva took a shot at the top of the box that skipped between a defender's legs, but Perk had his eyes on the ball the entire time and was able to make the save.

"Perk is a great goalkeeper and our (U.S.) Under-20 goalkeeper for a reason," Walker said. "But we also made it easy for him - we kicked balls right at him. These are things we'll need to develop next year."

With the win, the Bruin seniors were able to exact a small bit of revenge on the Gauchos who defeated UCLA in the 2006 NCAA Championship game when they were freshmen. "We have a pretty big core of seniors on our team, and it was in the back of our heads tonight," said Nakazawa. "It is a bit of redemption ... with a way better ending."

The sixth-seeded Bruins (12-3-4) will next face third-seeded Wake Forest (16-3-3) in the NCAA Quarterfinals. The game will take place in Winston-Salem on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 7 pm ET. This is UCLA's 19th trip to the quarterfinals and first since 2006, when the Bruins traveled to Duke and upset the Blue Devils, 3-2 in overtime to advance to the College Cup. UCLA is 1-1 all-time against Wake Forest, winning 2-0 in overtime in 1990 and losing 3-0 at Wake Forest a year ago.