The Bruins took a step back this weekend.
UCLA men’s soccer (9-6-0, 4-3-0 Pac-12) failed to pick up a win in either of its matches against now-No. 23 Washington (10-7-0, 5-4-0) and Oregon State (10-4-3, 6-2-1), and are now seven points back of first place in the Pac-12.
In Thursday’s 2-0 loss against the Huskies, a red card for redshirt senior Joab Santoyo and a rainy night in Seattle shifted the momentum in Washington’s direction late in the game.
After the defeat Thursday, coach Jorge Salcedo said that a win against the Beavers would be vital.
“If we win one game in the Northwest, we go back home with three home matches to close out our Pac-12 season,” Salcedo said. “That would put us in (a) position to still compete for the Pac-12 title.”
UCLA had the lead twice in Sunday’s 4-3 loss to Oregon State. Sophomore defender Brandon Terwege tied up the game in the 85th minute to force overtime, but the match ended with a Beaver golden goal.
Terwege said that the Bruins had what it took to win those games and are now in a bit of a hole.
“I think we have to stay more organized, be more of a unit,” Terwege said. “At times it was just individuals doing what they thought was right and we weren’t sticking together as a team. But the times that we did, we were successful, so it’s just about finding that balance.”
UCLA is now in fourth place in the Pac-12 standings with three games left in the regular season, all of which are at home. The Bruins will rematch with No. 6 Stanford (8-2-4, 5-1-1) in between chances to complete season sweeps against California (5-8-2, 1-6-0) and (6-8-1, 1-6-0) San Diego State.
Oregon State is now first in the conference with a 6-2-1 conference record and 19 points. The Beavers have one more regular season match left on their schedule – a road game against Huskies.
Stanford is in second place and is three points behind Oregon State. The Cardinal have three games left, all of which are against teams they have already beaten this season. Washington is one point back of Stanford, and the Huskies have two home games left to conclude their regular season.
“The Pac-12 is a tough conference every year,” said sophomore forward Milan Iloski. “Whoever wins the national championship is coming out of the Pac-12, and that’s for a reason.”
A Pac-12 team has been in the NCAA championship game in each of the past four years. UCLA lost to Virginia in the championship game in 2014 and Stanford has been the defending national champions for the past three years.
With a Pac-12 title likely out of reach, UCLA still has a chance to qualify for the tournament and Iloski said that step one is to get its mentality right against Cal on Thursday.
“We know we have to win at least two of the next three games if we’re going to even get into the playoffs, which is kind of ridiculous considering the talent on this team,” Iloski said. “I think we have to focus on Cal and not get ahead of ourselves.”