UCLA Plays in Elite Eight Friday

There is another UCLA team ranked #1 in the country -- the UCLA Women's Soccer team -- and they'll take on an old nemesis, Portland, in the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament at Drake Stadium tonight...

UCLA has a team ranked #1 in the country and playing in the Elite Eight tonight.

That would be the women's soccer team.

The Bruins play Portland at Drake Stadium tonight at 7:00. According to UCLA, the game will be played despite the rain.

UCLA went into the NCAA tournament ranked #1, and got the overall #1 seed. In the tournament, they've beaten Cal State Fullerton (3-1), Oklahoma State (4-0) and then Virginia 2-1 in overtime.

Portland is a #2 seed. The Pilots defeated UCLA in the NCAA Final in 2005. UCLA beat Portland earlier this year, 2-1, and beat them in the Elite Eight last season, 2-1.

UCLA is 19-1-2 on the season, riding a 16-game winning streak into tonight's game. Perhaps the second hottest team in the country is Portland, with an 11-game winning streak. UCLA also holds the longest home winning streak at 40 games, going back to 2005.

Sophomore Lauren Cheney broke the UCLA single-season scoring record against Virginia, as her three points in that match gave her 55 on the season. She entered the night tied with former record holder Traci Arkenberg, who had 52 points in 1997. In addition, Cheney's game-winning goal in that match tied her for two more UCLA marks, as she is now tied with Arkenberg for single-season goals (22), and with Danesha Adams for single-season game winners (9). Arkenberg set her goal mark in 1997, while Adams' game-winning goal record was set 2005.

UCLA has a very potent trio in Cheney, senior Adams, who has played on the U.S. National Team, and Kara Lang, who missed the beginning of the season when she was playing with the Canadian World Cup team. Cheney was named the Pac-10 Player of the Year, along with first team selections of Adams, Christian DiMartino, and goalkeeper Valerie Henderson, while defender Erin Hardy and Lang were second-team selections. Jillian Ellis was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year.

UCLA is the only #1 seed left in the tournament, with North Carolina, Penn State and Stanford all going down before the Elite Eight.

UCLA has been to the the College Cup (the Final Four) in each of the last four years, but has yet to win a national championship in women's soccer.

DirectTV will televise the Portland game tonight on channel 656.


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