UCLA topples defending champ Indiana in OT

IndianaIU (IU Athletics)

By MICAH McVICKER

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.—Victor Chavez and Victor Munoz lifted their disqualified teammate Sunday afternoon, stepping up and delivering the winning goal to help a young UCLA side deliver a statement victory against the defending NCAA champions.

Chavez scored his first goal of the season in the 91st minute to help lead the SBI No. 5 Bruins to a 1-0 victory over the SBI No. 3 Indiana Hoosiers, 1-0, in the final game of the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic at Jerry Yeagley Field.

Indiana promoted the contest against UCLA with Fill the Bill, an attempt to break the attendance record set in 2007, also against the SBI No. 5-ranked Bruins. Announced attendance was 7,720, which broke the record by 297 fans. The game exceeded the hype.

Though referee Cien Asoera showed senior defender Joe Sofia a straight red card in the 76th minute, UCLA persevered in their second overtime game of the classic. Meanwhile, the Hoosiers sustained their first overtime loss since North Carolina ended the team’s 2011 campaign.

“One man down, it’s always hard, physically, mentally,” Chavez said, trying to catch his breath after the victory. “(That) we could come back from that, in overtime, as a team says a lot for us. It’s a great feeling.”

In total, UCLA players were shown three yellow cards and one red. No IU players were booked. Bruins Coach Jorge Salcedo braced himself beforehand for such a possibility.

“It’s up for debate,” he said of the game’s fairness. “Coming on the road, you always know that you can’t count on anything, really. You just got to deal with it and play through it. That’s what our guys did. I thought, after the red card, we actually played really well.”

Indiana Coach Todd Yeagley said he thought his team fully controlled the match in the second half. The Hoosiers could not net that elusive goal.

The game reached overtime, in part, because UCLA junior goalkeeper Earl Edwards. guessed correctly. Junior midfielder Dylan Mares attempted a penalty kick in the 76th minute, and Edwards dove to his right to corral a shot about a foot and a half inside his left post.

“I thought once the penalty was saved, we did let up a little bit,” Yeagley said. “That’s how quickly it can flip.”

Chavez wasn’t optimistic his team could have scored an equalizer.

“That’s the reason we’re still here,” Chavez said. “If it wasn’t for that save, we wouldn’t have gotten that far. It was as big as that goal.”

Yeagley said Hoosiers’ sophomore goalkeeper Michael Soderlund read the play correctly, but as he came off his line to challenge the initial shot, he didn’t have sufficient strength to ouster the ball out of harm’s way. Chavez scored on an empty net.

Chavez did what Indiana could not do. On several occasions, Indiana was just a few inches away from scoring. However, three of UCLA’s backs are six feet tall or more. Nathan Smith is 5’10”. Salcedo said he knew his team had a size advantage, but he credited their tactical play, their marking.

“It’s a great result,” Salcedo said. “It’s something that the guys can be proud of their efforts in the second game of the season to come to Indiana and beat a good team.”

Yeagley said that during the limited time to prepare for the season, his team did not practice often against playing with a one-man advantage.

Edwards preserved the scoreless tie in the 16th minute, as he made a sparkling save against Mares, diving high to his left to deny an attempt that lacked pace. Mares said he did what he could at the time.

“I’d like to take it back because I didn’t score,” he said. “Again, it’s just shot creation, and that’s something we need more of.”

“Never once, in the back of our minds, did we feel that we wouldn’t find a way to get a goal,” Yeagley said. “We felt really confident all day, so it’s truly tough when it goes down like that. (I’ve) been on both sides of that before. But that’s our sport sometimes—makes you come back for more.”

Mares and junior defender Kerel Bradford each said the record-breaking fan support was amazing.

Chavez said the team, before overtime began, expressed a great enthusiasm to end the game quickly. UCLA played 110 minutes of scoreless soccer Friday night against the No. 7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

“That was a big thing,” he said of fatigue. “The weather out here, in California, you don’t get this humidity. It’s still hot, but it’s not the same thing, ya know? Fatigue was a big part of it. It’s good to get it done.”

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