It took 98 minutes, but the Bruins were able to bounce back after two road losses.
Redshirt freshman midfielder Tucker Lepley scored in the first half of extra time to help UCLA men’s soccer (7-4, 3-2 Pac-12) defeat San Diego State (6-3-2, 2-3) by a score of 1-0 Friday night at Wallis Annenberg Stadium. The goal was Lepley’s fourth of the season and put the blue and gold back above .500 in Pac-12 play.
The Bruins’ offense put pressure on the Aztecs’ defense with the majority of attacking plays but wasn’t able to break through during regular time. However, after a steal by junior midfielder Riley Ferch eight minutes into extra time, the junior midfielder was able to play the ball through to Lepley, who put it away for the win.
UCLA was able to record eight shots on goal and six corner kicks, compared to San Diego State’s three shots on goal and one corner kick. San Diego State goalkeeper Jacob Castro finished the game with seven saves, though Lepley was able to get the ball past him for the game-winning score.
Lepley said getting the win can help put the team back on track following a two-game skid.
“I thought the team put in a pretty good performance,” Lepley said. “It obviously took us until overtime to get the win, but I am proud of the effort the boys put in as a whole, and we can use this moving forward.”
The Bruins took control immediately in overtime, as they had all four of the shots taken and kept the ball in the Aztecs’ half for the majority of the period. UCLA was denied on two of its shots, one by redshirt freshman forward Jose Contell and the other by freshman defender Pietro Grassi, before finally putting the game away.
Coach Ryan Jorden said the team was able to control the game because it successfully followed through on its game plan.
“I think we did a lot of the things we set out to do, as we dominated possession and the shot count,” Jorden said. “We controlled the game in a manner that I thought was very good and put us in a good position to get the result we were looking for.”
With this win, UCLA was able to put itself third in the Pac-12 with nine points and a 3-2 record. The team is only behind No. 2 Washington and No. 15 Oregon State, who are 4-0 and 3-0-1 respectively in conference play this season.
The win over the Aztecs was the first for the Bruins since 2019, as the teams played to two double overtime draws in the shortened 2020-2021 season.
“I think our team has a really good belief that we can win every game for the rest of the season,” Jorden said. “With each individual game, our buy-in and the guys’ attention to the tactical plan shows they are locked in, and so our expectation is to get a little bit better every time out.”
UCLA will take on Loyola Marymount University on Thursday night in its final nonconference game before it closes out the season with five Pac-12 games.