Nov. 29, 2009

By Ivan Yeo Special to

LOS ANGELES -- The Portland women's soccer team had scored 82 goals entering Saturday night's NCAA Division I quarterfinal against UCLA while the host Bruins had not lost at home all season.

And it was UCLA that came out the victor, when a 34th minute strike by forward Lauren Cheney combined with gritty, physical and scrappy play propelled the Bruins to a 2-1 win over the Pilots. UCLA advances to its seventh consecutive College Cup, where it will play Pac-10 rival Stanford in a semifinal at San Antonio.

"I don't even know if scrappy was the word," Cheney said regarding the match. "We took it to them in the first half and every player played their heart out."

Portland's potent offense struck just two minutes into the match, as sophomore forward Danielle Foxhoven received a ball from junior forward Kendra Chandhoke at the top of the box to the right side. Foxhoven launched a shot that beat UCLA sophomore keeper Sandiford Chante to the near-left post.

Little did Portland know it would be the only shot attempt it would get in the first half, while UCLA had 14. UCLA got the equalizer in the 31st minute when senior forward Kristina Larsen sent a ball to junior midfielder Kylie Wright near the box and her shot deflected off a Pilot defender and trickled across the goal line to even up the score.

It was a little bad luck on our part," Portland coach Garrett Green said. "She did what a center back was supposed to do, which is get in the way of the shot."

Cheney's winner came in the 34th minute, as she received a ball from Lauren Barnes in the box on the left side and launched a shot past the diving Pilots senior keeper Kelsey Davis, beating her to the near right post.

"Our possession was phenomenal," UCLA coach Jillian Ellis said. "We had (Portland) on their heels and they were running and tracing."

UCLA had several chances to put the Pilots on ice following Cheney's goal, but a second attempt by Cheney went just wide left and a chance by Larsen missed right.

The Bruins had a golden chance in the 55th minute. It started when Cheney passed a perfect ball to freshman midfielder Chelsea Cline in the box, and Pilots defender Keelin Winters was too aggressive in defending against Cline. As a result, Winters fouled Cline in the box, resulting in a penalty kick. Cheney, who had never attempted a penalty shot, saw her shot ricochet off the crossbar and back into play.

Portland tried frantically inside the final 10 minutes to get the equalizer. The Pilots' first chance came in the 82nd minute when they got a free kick from about 30 yards out. Janelle Jacka received the free kick and volleyed a ball that required Sandiford to leap high to redirect the shot. UCLA's defense came up big in the next two minutes, as the Bruins defended against three Pilot corner kicks as the match wound down.