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UCLA men’s soccer has opportunity for unbeaten Pac-12 play with California match

Redshirt senior defender Ben Reveno played all 90 minutes in UCLA men’s soccer’s win over No. 23 Stanford on Thursday, the second game in a row he played the entire contest. (Jack Stenzel/Daily Bruin)

By Jake Greenberg-Bell

Sept. 19, 2021 3:32 p.m.

Less than three days after beating the Cardinal for the first time since 2013, the Bruins will be back on the field.

UCLA men’s soccer (4-2, 1-0 Pac-12) will take on California (2-3-1, 0-1) on Sunday night at Wallis Annenberg Stadium in the second game of the team’s conference slate.

Thursday, the blue and gold opened its Pac-12 schedule with a matchup against No. 23 Stanford, who hadn’t lost to UCLA in the last 13 matchups between the two teams. After both teams played to a stalemate through one half, it was the Bruins who found the back of the net twice in the second half to win the match 2-0.

“We hadn’t beaten or even scored on Stanford in a while, so getting a win was huge for us,” said redshirt senior defender Ben Reveno. “Hopefully we can catch momentum and keep going.”

UCLA has now won four of its last five games and will have a chance to go unbeaten in its first two games of Pac-12 play for the first time since 2013 when it hosts the Bears on Sunday.

Coach Ryan Jorden said he hopes his players are enjoying the victory but that another good showing against California would solidify the statement they made Thursday against Stanford.

“You want your players to really enjoy it, that’s an important part of getting good results,” Jorden said. “But at the same time, you also want them to have a balance with regards to if you don’t turn it around and back it up with a good performance on Sunday against Cal, then it means less.”

When UCLA and California last met in the final game of the 2020-2021 season, a volley from sophomore defender Tommy Silva ricocheted off the post and in to win the game for UCLA in overtime. Silva enters this year’s matchup leading his team in scoring with three goals through six games.

But the Bruins have found scoring up and down their lineup. Through six games, six different UCLA players have found the back of the net, the second-highest mark in the Pac-12.

“We have a lot of good players in all areas of the field,” said redshirt senior midfielder Andrew Paoli. “It’s really nice when you can count on guys, … throughout the team to make big plays and step up.”

With a win against a nationally ranked conference foe under their belt, the Bruins will have an opportunity to earn a winning streak against Pac-12 competition for the first time since 2018 when they play California at 7 p.m. Sunday.

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Jake Greenberg-Bell | Sports reporter
Greenberg-Bell is currently a Sports reporter on the men's soccer beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's soccer and men's volleyball beats.
Greenberg-Bell is currently a Sports reporter on the men's soccer beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's soccer and men's volleyball beats.
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