Dream Season Comes to a Close as Goal in 84th Minute Gives #4 UCLA 1-0 Victory Over Blue Hens in NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament
November 20, 2011
Photos Courtesy of Mike Biggs (John Dineen - right; Roberto Giménez - left)
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- UCLA forward Chandler Hoffman scored with 6:44 remaining in the match as the fourth-ranked Bruins edged the University of Delaware, 1-0, Sunday night at Drake Stadium in the second round of the NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament.
The decisive play started when the Bruins’ Reed Williams lofted a pass to the right corner of the box that was collected by Ryan Hollingshead, who then sent a cross toward the middle of the field. The ball deflected off a Blue Hen defender right to Hoffman, who lifted a shot past UD goalkeeper Kris Devaux into the top left corner of the goal.
The tally was the team-leading 16th goal of the season for Hoffman, who leads the Pac-12 Conference with 16 goals and 36 points. The No. 13 seeded Bruins advance to the third round of the NCAA Tournament where they will host Rutgers next Sunday.
The loss ended a record-setting season for Blue Hens, who concluded thier season at 13-6-4. Delaware set a school record for wins in a season, scored a UD single season record 40 goals, claimed the CAA Tournament championship by winning three matches in four days, and posted its first ever NCAA victory on Thursday with a 1-0 double overtime victory at Virginia.
UCLA, which improved to 16-4-1 on the season, won its sixth consecutive match, all by shutout. The Bruins, the four-time national champions who advanced to the Elite Eight a year ago, are making their 29th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
“I thought we were terrific,” said sixth-year Delaware head coach Ian Hennessy. “UCLA is one of the top sides in the country, and to be honest, tonight they were the better team. But we hung in there for 80-plus minutes, and I thought with the chances we might have been able to score at the end. But that’s the way it goes sometimes, you’re waiting for that one goal or opportunity, and it didn’t come our way tonight. To play five games in 10 days, to defeat Virginia and then fly cross country to give UCLA fits for 90 minutes on the back of three games in the CAA Tournament, it speaks volumes about our program. It’s been a whirlwind, and I’m very proud of the team.”
UCLA had the first good opportunity of the night when Eder Arreola redirected a cross on goal from 10 yards out, but Devaux was there to make the early save. CAA Player of the Year Evans Frimpong took the next two shots for the Blue Hens, including his second from 18 yards out that was blocked by a Bruins defender, but neither found its way on goal.
The Bruins would have the majority of quality chances for the rest of the half, as Kelyn Rowe fired a laser from 20 yards out in the 26th minute that Devaux corralled. Patrick Matchett took a low shot to the left side from 17 yards out, but Devaux again was up to the task with a sprawling save to keep the contest scoreless. In the 39th minute Hoffman puts the ball in the back of the net, but he was called for offsides and the teams eventually headed to the break scoreless.
UCLA continued to attack in the second half, as a Fernando Monge header off a corner kick in the 50th minute hit the right post before a rocket from Rowe 16 yards out sailed over the crossbar in 58th minute.
Delaware countered with 26 minutes to go when Roberto Giménez fired a shot from the left side, but Bruins goalkeeper Brian Rowe made the stop for his first save of the night. Five minutes later Frimpong sent a cross into the box, but a header by Giménez was easily grabbed by Rowe. Later Giménez found Mark Garrity on the right side 12 yards out, but Garrity’s low shot was stopped by Rowe.
Following Hoffman’s goal the Blue Hens had a few more chances, but shots by Frimpong and Gimenez following a UD throw in were blocked. Delaware had a final chance with one minute left when the Blue Hens were awarded a free kick from 26 yards out, but the shot by Giménez just missed the right side of the cage.
The Blue Hens hung tough with the Bruins all night, as UCLA held a slim 13-11 advantage in shots and a 3-0 edge in corner kicks. Devaux made five saves in the Delaware goal, while Rowe stopped three shots for the Bruins.