LOS ANGELES -- The No. 1 UCLA Bruins earned a decisive 3-0 victory against the Cal State Northridge Matadors behind two goals from Leo Stolz on Sunday night at Drake Stadium. The attendance (3,294) was the third highest home total in UCLA men’s soccer history.
Despite getting two goals from All-American candidate Stolz, the eventual game-winner was scored in the first half by way of an own goal. In the 37th minute, Nathan Smith sent a ball from 20 yards out into a heavily crowded box where it was deflected off of a Matador defender and into the back of the net.
“I thought we had a really good first half, really dominant half,” UCLA head coach Jorge Salcedo said. “We had three good goal scoring opportunities in the half. Obviously the goal was an own goal, but it comes from a really good ball into the box. I thought our mentality and the way we defended the whole game was really good. Scoring three goals on the night is obviously a positive. Not giving up a goal again is great for us and to get ready to go into the Pac-12 Conference.”
Stolz would tally his fourth and fifth goals of the season late in the second half to seal the victory for UCLA (5-2-2). With CSUN (4-4-1) trailing in the 88th minute, the Matadors brought goalkeeper Adam Hobbs up to the offensive zone for a corner kick attempt. The low bending kick to the near post was headed away by Grady Howe down the right sideline to Stolz who would drive a kick from 70 yards away into the empty net on the other end. Just 50 seconds later, Felix Vobejda and Stolz created a two-on-one counterattack opportunity that was once again finished by Stolz inside the penalty box.
The Bruins effectively controlled the pace in the first 45 minute period, allowing only one shot from CSUN. UCLA managed five shots in the half and kept the ball away from their defensive third for much of the time.
The second half proved to be more dangerous for the Bruin defense. Goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. only had to make one save to earn his fifth shutout of the year, but it was an acrobatic stop from five yards out in the 65th minute that robbed CSUN of the tying goal. One minute later, defender Michael Amick made an equally impressive sliding save on an attempt from inside the box once again to secure the win.