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UCLA men’s soccer hopes to learn from mistakes, defeat San Francisco

Graduate student midfielder Yoni Sorokin, a two-time American Athletic Conference Midfielder of the Year, made his debut as a Bruin on Thursday in a loss against Lipscomb. (Marc-Anthony Rosas/Daily Bruin)

Men's soccer

San Francisco
Sunday, 3 p.m.

Wallis Annenberg Stadium

By Nick Darrow

Aug. 29, 2021 1:05 p.m.

The Bruins will have the opportunity to bounce back from their season-opening loss with a matchup against a familiar opponent.

After losing to Lipscomb on Thursday to kick off its season, UCLA men’s soccer (0-1) will have the chance to get its first win on the board when it takes the field against San Francisco (1-0) on Sunday at Wallis Annenberg Stadium.

The Bruins fell 2-1 in their season opener against Lipscomb after two wins in exhibition games against Westmont and Cal Poly, marking their first loss in a season opener in nine years.

Redshirt freshman midfielder Tucker Lepley said it is important for the team to stay focused and learn from its rare loss to open the season.

“Obviously our goal was to win every game at home, but there is nothing wrong with facing adversity early on in the year,” Lepley said. “By the end of the year, we will have faced everything and will be ready for every challenge.”

Sunday’s game is a rematch of a matchup from last season, where the Bruins won 3-0 over the Dons. A year ago, San Francisco finished with a record of 5-4-2 and opened the season this year with a win over Sacramento State.

In five all-time matchups between the schools, UCLA owns a 4-1 record over San Francisco. After playing their first game against a team that they had never played before, the Bruins will come into this game with prior knowledge and game experience against their opponent.

Coach Ryan Jorden said he wants to focus on improvement early in the season to make sure they get better every time they step on the field.

“I think a lot of it is just recovery, trying to make sure we get our legs back underneath us,” Jorden said. “Obviously, we will talk about the areas where we can grow and improve in preparation for Sunday’s game.”

After their seven losses last year, UCLA was only able to win two games, ending the season with their worst record in program history. However, the Bruins have a different team than a year ago, bringing in the country’s No. 4 recruiting class this season.

Graduate student Yoni Sorokin said emotions will play a large role in bouncing back from the loss this time around.

“We are trying to watch the video, recover our bodies and just be together and bounce back,” Sorokin said. “We don’t want to stay sad for long. We want to be happy and celebrate.”

Sorokin and the Bruins will take the field Sunday with a chance to get their first home win in front of a crowd since Oct. 6, 2019.

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Nick Darrow | Sports reporter
Darrow is currently a Sports reporter on the men's soccer beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's tennis, men's volleyball and men's soccer beats.
Darrow is currently a Sports reporter on the men's soccer beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's tennis, men's volleyball and men's soccer beats.
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