Bruins Beat USC in Round of 16

UCLA women's soccer team avenged last year's loss to USC in the NCAA semi-finals by beating them 1-0 in the Round of 16 Saturday. The #2-ranked Bruins move on to face Duke at Drake Stadium this coming Saturday...

The UCLA women's soccer team has been all business this year. Ranked #1 last season only to lose in the NCAA semi-finals to USC, the team looked very serious this season marching through its non-conference and conference opponents undefeated.

But when the Bruins beat USC 1-0 in the round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament Saturday night, there was some noted celebration.

The Trojans were the team that knocked off UCLA in the semi-final last year, who also went on to win a national championship.

UCLA, the dominant program among the two, had to feel USC stole its national championship.

UCLA leads the series 17-3-1. It is 13-0 in UCLA's Drake Stadium.

On top of that, UCLA has been to the Womens' College Cup (the Final Four) five straight years, and have won six straight Pac-10 titles.

So, when USC upset the Bruins last season in the NCAA semi-finals, the Bruins had a score to settle.

UCLA beat the Trojans in a conference match earlier this season, 2-1, but the game was close.

The Round-of-16 match-up on Saturday was, however, dominated by UCLA. UCLA out-shot USC 17-6, and came close to scoring on two more chances. Junior Kristina Larsen scored at the 12:19 mark, setting a tone for the game. Larsen also scored UCLA's two goals against USC earlier in the year.

Larsen said, "It's a rivalry, and I try to step up to the challenge."

UCLA is undefeated this season at 21-0-2, while USC fell to 16-5-2.

Other facts of note for the season:

-- UCLA is a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament, for a second year in a row. The other #1 seeds in the field are Notre Dame, North Carolina and Stanford, and all three of the other #1 seeds remain in the tourney.

-- UCLA finished the season ranked #2, behind Notre Dame, which is also undefeated at 24-0-0.

-- The Fighting Irish face #2-seeded Florida State in their Elite Eight game. Stanford also faces #2-seeded Portland, and North Carolina faces #3-seeded Texas A&M. Duke, UCLA's opponent, is a #3 seed, upsetting #2 seed 2-0 in the Round of 16.

-- The last time the Blue Devils visited Drake Stadium was during the 2004 NCAA Round of 16, a 2-0 Bruin win.

-- UCLA achieved its first-ever undefeated regular season.

-- The Bruins have given up fewer goals than anyone in the country, giving up just four in 23 games. UCLA set a record for shut-outs this season with 19, which also leads the country.

BRO Note: If you're attending the UCLA-Florida International basketball game Saturday at 4:30, after the game come to Drake Stadium to support the most highly-rated UCLA team on campus in their Elite Eight game against Duke.


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