A large, white banner with all of the UCLA men’s soccer team’s conference and national championship years is usually waving in Drake Stadium during soccer games.
On Sunday night, the banner rested, draped across a section of bleachers rather than strung up in its normal position.
And after a 1-1 draw in double overtime at home against Cal, UCLA will not add 2012 to the banner just yet.
With a win, the Bruins would have clinched the Pac-12 conference title.
Instead, No. 5 UCLA, playing its fourth game in 10 days, created a number of chances, survived a number of scares and ultimately finished with a 1-1 draw. The team will play San Diego State on Friday with a chance to clinch the conference championship with a win or a Washington loss.
“It just wasn’t meant to be tonight,” coach Jorge Salcedo said after the Bruins outshot the Bears 28-11.
“It’s one of those things that we just couldn’t find a way to score the second goal, and it definitely wasn’t from a lack of opportunities.”
In the first overtime, senior forward Ryan Hollingshead slid the ball past the Cal goalkeeper, but two defenders cleared the ball off the line.
In the second overtime, the Bruins forced the keeper into two quick saves midway through the period. With under a minute to play, Cal blasted a shot off the goal post and UCLA (12-2-3, 7-1-1 Pac-12) was able to clear it away to close out the game.
“We had a couple (chances) even in the second overtime where we could’ve just finished it,” junior forward Reed Williams said.
“One of the last plays, if I would’ve just been able to run a little faster and get in front of my defender that’s a tap-in and game over, we’re winning and celebrating the title so (it was) those little things.”
After Cal scored late in the first half, UCLA got its first goal to tie the game in the 54th minute. Senior forward/midfielder Evan Raynr headed down a cross in the box which landed at the feet of Williams. Williams swiftly pushed the ball into the right corner past the diving goalkeeper.
“For me, right place at the right time. … I just saw a little hole and I was so close it was pretty easy for me on my part,” Williams said. “I was just waiting for the ball to fall and it fell in my lap so I just slotted it back post.”
Redshirt senior midfielder Fernando Monge appeared to put the Bruins in front minutes after the team’s first goal, but his shot into the back of the net was nullified by a foul. UCLA had three goals called back because of a foul or offsides during the game.
Although the Bruins weren’t able to look, or add, to their championship banner Sunday, there was something much simpler that carried them through their fourth game in 10 days.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to look down on your chest and look at who you’re representing, and that’s what gets you going,” Monge said. “That’s what gives you your energy.”