M. Soccer Stuns No. 16 UCLA, 1-0
Nov. 14, 2015
SAN DIEGO – The San Diego State men’s soccer team closed its 2015 campaign in dramatic fashion, stunning No. 16 UCLA in Pac-12 action with a 1-0 double overtime victory atop SDSU Sports Deck on Saturday night.
The win marked San Diego State’s first over UCLA since Oct. 6, 2007, when the Aztecs beat the Bruins by the same 1-0 margin. UCLA was shut out for just the second time this season, thanks to outstanding play by the Aztecs’ backline, which included two team saves and three stops by Adam Allmaras.
San Diego State finishes the regular season with an 8-8-3 record, its best overall mark since 2011, and a 2-7-1 record in Pac-12 play. UCLA moves to 10-8-1 overall and posted a 5-4-1 record against conference opponents.
“This was an unbelievable performance,” head coach Lev Kirshner said. “The guys were playing for the seniors. The character and work ethic needed to beat a team of this caliber was outstanding, and we sent the seniors off the way we wanted to.”
The golden goal came in the 103rd minute when Ozzie Ramos’ shot from outside the eight-yard box deflected off of Brady Blackwell and into the left side of the net. The tally was Blackwell’s second goal, and second match-winner, of the season.
Said Ramos, “In our last game against UCLA, our pressure was too high. This time, we stayed compact and it helped everyone. We went all out and sent the seniors out right.”
The match’s opening half saw the majority of action in San Diego State’s third, but the Aztecs’ backline was able to thwart any credible opportunities by the Bruins.
UCLA, who was shut out in the first half for first time in almost a month (Oct. 16 against Stanford), nearly got on the board shortly after returning from the halftime intermission. A play pulled Allmaras out of the box and Abu Danladi streaked in with the ball. But Kyle Adams swooped in to knock the away the shot.
San Diego State’s attack grew more organized as the match progressed. In his final game in an Aztec uniform, Rene Reyes almost gave San Diego State the lead when, at the 69-minute mark, he sliced a shot, but his attempt sailed high and wide. A give-and-go between Luke Ackermann and Dallin Cutler in the 76th minute yielded an exciting offensive sequence for the Aztecs. However, Cutler’s result was a shot flying to the right of the net.
With their offense moving, the Aztecs continued strong play on both sides of the ball. At 78:46, a second team save was registered when a play forced Allmaras out of the net and Jose Hernandez was able to kick the ball towards the open net. But Ernest Reyes came to the rescue with a diving stop, punching the ball to safety.
From the start of the first overtime period, San Diego State came out firing, with Cutler forcing UCLA keeper Juan Cervantes to make a save, and Casey Phillips heading the ball just over the crossbar. The two opportunities paved the way for the 102nd-minute match-winner.
Allmaras’ finishes his redshirt-sophomore campaign with a 6-7-3 record after making a trio of saves. Cervantes’ record fell to 7-5-1 following his one-save performance. UCLA out-shot the Aztecs, 13-8, and took eight corners to San Diego State’s three.
With its final regular season match, San Diego State sends off its three seniors: tri-captain Casey Phillips, Mark Revell and Rene Reyes. “We are a team that will play together,” Kirshner said. “We didn’t have one player who dominated the game, but we worked as a team to earn the result. We can’t be more proud of that effort.”
MEN OF THE MATCH: The Aztecs’ Men of the Match are the team’s three seniors: tri-captain Casey Phillips, Mark Revell and Rene Reyes. Phillips led the Aztecs with three shots, a season-best performance. Revell logged 33 minutes, helping San Diego State’s backline limit UCLA to just three shots on goal. Rene Reyes spent 91 minutes on the pitch, taking one shot and playing an integral role in the Aztecs’ attack.