This Week -- 13th-seeded UCLA (18-4-1) will make its 13th NCAA College Cup appearance this weekend as they travel to Birmingham, Ala. to face the top-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels (20-2-2) on Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 pm CT/5:30 pm PT in the College Cup Semifinals.
Live Coverage -- The match will be nationally broadcast live on ESPNU at 7:30 pm CT/5:30 pm PT. The Creighton/Charlotte match will be televised by ESPNU at 5 pm CT/3 pm PT and the championship match will be at 3 pm CT/1 pm PT. Rob Stone will have the play-by-play, Taylor Twellman will provide the analysis and Cat Whitehill will be the sideline reporter. Fans at home can also follow the match on Gametracker. The link will be available on the events calendar on the front page at uclabruins.com.
UCLA Into College Cup For 13th Time -- The Bruins have reached the NCAA College Cup Semifinals for the 13th time in school history and for the second time under Head Coach Jorge Salcedo. UCLA is 8-4 all-time in the Semifi nal round. UCLA has made the NCAA Tournament in 29 straight seasons and has made 39 NCAA appearances overall. Both are the second most all-time behind Virginia (31 straight appearances) and Saint Louis (46 overall appearances). UCLA has an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 67-35 with national championships in 1985, 1990, 1997 and 2002.
Going Back Home -- This season the College Cup will be played in Hoover Ala., which also happens to be the hometown of junior forward Chandler Hoffman. The Birmingham, Ala., native was the Gatorade State Player of the Year for Alabama in 2008 and 2009, and is the first player from the state of Alabama to ever play men's soccer at UCLA. "When we found out that the College Cup was going to be in Birmingham, probably about eight months ago, I just had this feeling that it was going to be destiny for us to make it," said Hoffman. The 2011 College Cup will be played at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala.
In The Rankings -- UCLA finished the regular season ranked No. 4 by Soccer America and the NSCAA. In the NCAA RPI, UCLA finished the regular season No. 12. North Carolina finished the regular season ranked No. 2 by Soccer America and No. 3 by the NSCAA. In the NCAA RPI, the Tar Heels finished the regular season ranked No. 1.
How They Got Here: UCLA -- UCLA received an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament after winning the Pac-12 Championship. The Bruins earned the No. 13 seed in the tournament by virtue of their 15-4-1 regular season record and undefeated 10-0-0 conference record. UCLA fi nished the regular season with five straight shutout wins and victories in 10 of its last 12 games. The Bruins earned victories over Delaware in the second round, Rutgers in the third round, and Louisville in the Quarterfinals to advance to the College Cup.
How They Got Here: North Carolina -- North Carolina earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament after going 17-2-2 during the regular season and winning the ACC title. In the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the Tar Heels defeated Coastal Carolina 3-2 and then upended 16th-seeded Indiana in the third round by a score of 1-0 in overtime. Billy Schuler scored the game-winner in the 96th minute to down the Hoosiers. Then in the Quarterfi nals, North Carolina beat an upstart Saint Mary's team 2-0 off of goals by defender Matt Hedges and forward Ben Speas. The Tar Heels are making their fourth consecutive NCAA College Cup appearance and their sixth overall in school history.
The Series With North Carolina -- This will be the fourth all-time meeting between the Bruins and the Tar Heels with the Bruins holding a 2-0-1 record all-time against the Tar Heels. The last meeting came in 2008, where the two sides met on a neutral field in Winston-Salem, N.C. and played to a 1-1 draw. Current UCLA players Andy Rose, Eder Arreola and Chris Cummings all played in that match. The prior two meetings before that came in 1979 and 1993, with the Bruins winning both matches by scores of 4-1 and 5-3 respectively.
Quarterfinal Recap -- The Bruins were fi nally able to break through after two straight years of being bounced in the NCAA Quarterfi nal stage as they defeated the Louisville Cardinals 1-0 in double-overtime to advance to their 13th College Cup. Neither team could fi nd the back of the net for the fi rst 90 minutes of play despite both sides having numerous chances to go ahead. Then fi nally in the 102nd minute, sophomore Reed Williams took a pass in the middle of the penalty box from defender Patrick Matchett and fi red a low liner that hit the far post and went in to give the Bruins the 1-0 victory. Ryan Hollingshead assisted on the play as well. The back line was once again spectacular in shutting out the Cardinals and Brian Rowe came up with a couple of key saves as well to keep the match level. Louisville had knocked UCLA out of the Tournament in the Quarterfinal stage a year ago and also defeated the Bruins 2-0 in the season opener for both teams.
Three Bruins Named to National Team of the Week -- For their efforts against Louisville, senior goalkeeper Brian Rowe, junior midfi elder Ryan Hollingshead and sophomore forward Reed Williams were all named to the Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week for the week of Nov. 28-Dec. 4. This is the first time all season that each player has been named to the National Team of the Week.
Shutting Out the Opposition -- By shutting out Louisville, the Bruins tied a school record set back in 1977 by earning their eighth straight shutout of the opposition. In addition, it was the 12th time that UCLA has shut out the other team all year, which is the most by a UCLA team since the 2005 squad had 14 shutouts. The Bruins have not allowed a goal in 748 minutes and senior goalkeeper Brian Rowe has started all 12 shutouts. The back line of Shawn Singh, Matt Wiet, Joe Sofia and Patrick Matchett has played a key role in defense in those shutouts as well.
Hoffman Named MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist -- On Sunday, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) announced that junior forward Chandler Hoffman has been named as one of 15 semifinalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy. Hoffman has had an outstanding season for UCLA so far, scoring 18 goals in 23 games for the Bruins this season and leading the team with 40 points. Earlier this season, he tied UCLA records for consecutive games with a goal and multiple goal games. scoring in five straight games and tallying four multiple goal games. In addition, Chandler leads the Pac-12 in goals (18), goals per game (0.82), points (40) and points per game (1.82). Nationally, Hoffman is sixth in points scored, tied for fourth in goals, is ninth in goals per game and is 12th in points per game. Also, Chandler's 18 goals are the most by a UCLA player since Joe-Max Moore scored 18 for the Bruins in 1991 and his 40 points are the most by a Bruin player since Seth George had 42 in 1997. UCLA has had two MAC Hermann Trophy winners - Brad Friedel, who won the Hermann Trophy in 1992, and Sasha Victorine, who won the MAC Trophy in 1999. The two awards were unifi ed into the MAC Hermann Trophy in 2002.
NCAA Experience -- 22 UCLA players have had at least one game of NCAA Tournament experience in their time at the school, including all 11 starters. Senior captain Andy Rose has the most Tournament experience out of this group, playing in 10 NCAA games in his career. Chandler Hoffman leads the team in NCAA Tournament goals with seven goals in nine games and also leads the squad with 15 points. Junior Ryan Hollingshead lead the team in assists with four in nine games while Kelyn Rowe and Reed Williams are tied for second with four assists in five NCAA games. Senior goalie Brian Rowe has also played in six Tournament games for UCLA and has made 24 saves, recording a GAA of 1.10 in his NCAA Postseason career.The Bruins return all 11 starters from last year's team that made it all the way to the NCAA Quarterfi nals. The team also made the NCAA Quarterfinal stage back in 2009.
Top of the Charts -- Many UCLA players this season find themselves at the top or near the top of major statistical categories in the Pac-12. In addition to Chandler Hoffman leading the league in goals and points, Pac-12 Player of the Year Kelyn Rowe is third in points with 20 and tied for fourth in goals with five. Rowe also leads the Pac-12 and is tied for seventh nationally in assists with 10. Sophomore midfi elder Victor Munoz is second to Rowe in assists with eight while sophomore defender Patrick Matchett and junior midfi elder Ryan Hollingshead are tied for third in assists with seven apiece. Chandler Hoffman is also tied for first in the league with fi ve game-winning goals. Finally, senior goalkeeper Brian Rowe leads the conference and is ranked 15th nationally with a GAA of 0.70 on the season and has a Pac-12 best 12 shutouts as well.