If you’re on campus and need to know the time, it’s probably a good bet to ask a senior from UCLA’s men’s soccer team.
Every year, each player from the winning team in the Pac-12 conference receives a commemorative watch.
UCLA has won three of the last four conference championships, and will try to make it four of the last five as well as two straight when the team takes on San Diego State on Senior Day today.
A win or a Washington loss would secure the conference title.
“That’s the prize ““ Pac-12 watches,” said senior midfielder/forward Ryan Hollingshead with a smile. “We’ve already gotten two, we’ve got to get one more. We’ve got to complete the colors; we’re missing one of the colors, so yeah, we want that Pac-12 watch.”
The last time the Bruins played the Aztecs, earlier this season, Hollingshead accounted for three assists, a career-high for the senior, which helped the team escape with a 4-3 win in San Diego. He was the first Bruin to register that many assists in a game since 2003.
While SDSU enters today’s game with little to play for, the same cannot be said for UCLA (12-2-3, 7-1-1 Pac-12) who is trying to clinch the conference title heading into the postseason.
“(It’s) San Diego State’s last game of the season so they have nothing to lose. And sometimes, when you play against a team like that, they are more dangerous because they can take chances and a few more risks than normal,” UCLA coach Jorge Salcedo said.
No. 5 UCLA could have clinched the conference title last Sunday with a win over California, but the team settled for a 1-1 draw in double overtime.
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Earl Edwards made a pair of key saves in the second half to keep the game tied, but the Bruins were unable to take advantage and find the second goal to pull out a win.
“Coach talked a lot about closing opportunities. There’s not many times that you get an opportunity like that, and closing opportunities is something even fewer people take advantage of,” Edwards said.
The Bruins have a pair of seniors, Hollingshead and forward/midfielder Evan Raynr; and a pair of redshirt seniors, midfielder/forward Fernando Monge and defender Chris Cummings; who have been with the program since their freshman year. Although UCLA may host another game or two at Drake Stadium, today will be the final regular season home game for the seniors who will be honored before the game.
“They’ve given so much to the program and really represented UCLA soccer and the university well, not only being successful on the field, but in the classroom as well,” Salcedo said. “(We’re) really appreciative of all that they’ve given us and all that they’ve done.”
Though Hollingshead is likely to know the time, he’s also cognizant of how fast it can go.
“It’s just been a crazy four years; it’s crazy that (Senior Day) is here, that it comes that fast, that my parents are going to walk me on the field; because you think when you first come in here, “˜Ah that’s so far away,’ like that’s not going to happen for so many years, but it’s here, like it’s already happening,” the senior said.
“I’m just so proud of this time we’ve (the seniors) had here at UCLA and so thankful for it.”