The No. 16 UCLA men’s soccer team made a splash into the win column in a big way.
In the 95th minute, redshirt junior midfielder Brian Iloski hit the game-winning penalty kick to defeat Cal State Fullerton (0-0-2) 1-0.
It was a triumphant return for the Escondido, California, native who only appeared in three games last season – logging a mere 99 minutes before missing the rest of the year due to injury. Because of that, Iloski was granted a redshirt year.
Monday night’s matchup was UCLA’s (1-0-1) first home game of the season, with a smaller home crowd due to the fact that the season had begun before UCLA begins its fall quarter. The lack of a real home-field advantage did not deter the Bruins from building upon the momentum they had from a 1-1 tie against No. 4 Maryland on Friday.
In this extremely tight game, one stat stood out – shots.
UCLA was outshot by Cal State Fullerton 14-7. However, UCLA was far more efficient having hit five of the seven on goal whereas Fullerton hit only five of 14.
Both teams came out firing right out of the gates with five shots being taken in the first 15 minutes, but four of those shots came by way of the Titans.
Starters who made an impact included sophomore standout midfielder Jose Hernandez and junior forward Seyi Adekoya.
But it was really the Bruins’ subs who made a big difference offensively. Sophomore midfielder Jackson Yueill took two shots, with one on cage. Senior forward Gage Zerboni and Iloski took one shot apiece with Zerboni’s on cage and Iloski’s for the win.
Redshirt senior goalkeeper Juan Cervantes played an outstanding game, the senior notched four saves in the first period alone, five all together and did not allow a single goal the whole night.
Despite the victory, coach Jorge Salcedo admitted that the Bruins weren’t on their game Monday night.
“Tonight was not a good performance by our team,” Salcedo said. “We weren’t able to really execute anything we looked to do throughout the field. We did a poor job in our decision-making, our speed of play, our speed of thought was all off.”
The Bruins will have a week of rest before Friday’s match against unranked Duke, which went 1-1-0 in the John Rennie Nike Invitational this weekend.