LOS ANGELES — Junior forward Chandler Hoffman scored a goal in the 83rd minute and senior goalkeeper Brian Rowe earned his sixth consecutive shutout as UCLA earned a 1-0 victory against Delaware in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Drake Stadium on Sunday night.
The Bruins almost took an early lead in the seventh minute of the first half, as defender Patrick Matchett sent a cross to the far post where Eder Arreola jumped in the air and tapped the volley on net. But Delaware keeper Kris Devaux made a nice diving save to keep the match scoreless. Matchett almost put the Bruins ahead again in the 36th minute after he took a low, lining shot towards the far post from the top of the box. However, Devaux was there again and just got a fingertip on the ball to send it wide.
UCLA again had a golden opportunity to make it 1-0 in the 39th minute when Chandler Hoffman took a cross from Reed Williams and appeared to slide kick it into the net. But the goal was disallowed for offsides and the two sides went into halftime tied at 0-0.
At the start of the second half, UCLA kept the pressure on the Fightin’ Blue Hens and in the 47th minute almost went ahead again after Fernando Monge headed a corner kick off the post. The Bruins would finally find that go-ahead goal in the 84th minute when Chandler Hoffman put in his 16th goal of the season to give UCLA a 1-0 lead. The play started when sophomore Reed Williams sent a through ball to junior Ryan Hollingshead on the right side of the box. Hollingshead then attempted to cross the ball to the middle, but the ball deflected off a defender and fell to Hoffman, who promptly sent the ball far post for the goal.
Delaware would have a chance to tie the game in the 89th minute after a foul on the edge of the penalty box by UCLA gave the Fightin’ Blue Hens a free kick at the top of the box. Forward Roberto Gimenez would send the kick just wide though and UCLA ran out the remaining time to earn the win. The Bruins earned their sixth consecutive shutout and their 10th shutout of the year behind the defense of Matchett, Shawn Singh, Matt Wiet and Joe Sofia. Brian Rowe also made three saves in the match to earn the shutout victory.
“It was a good game,” UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo said after the match. “It was a playoff game in inclement weather and the field was obviously heavier than normal. We could’ve scored a couple of times in the first half but they [Delaware] were very resilient and as the game went on they grew in confidence. I’m really proud of our guys’ effort. Sometimes you get a bye and you play against a team that’s already played a playoff match and it’s a challenging game. As we saw across the tournament today, a lot of teams that hosted had very very tough, challenging matches. We’re excited with the win and another game where we have a shutout. Our finishing can be better and it has to be better for us to continue on in the tournament.”
Overall, the Bruins outshot the Fightin’ Blue Hens 13-11 in the match.