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Men’s soccer finishes regular season with victory against Aztecs

Sophomore defender Tommy Silva attempts to get the ball past a defender. Silva needed just 10 minutes to post his second brace of the season against San Diego State on Friday, helping No. 22 UCLA men’s soccer lead the whole way in its regular-season finale. (David Rimer/Assistant Photo editor)

By Nick Darrow

Nov. 15, 2021 2:53 p.m.

The Bruins were able to finish their regular season with a conference record above .500 for the first time since 2015.

No. 22 UCLA men’s soccer (10-6-1, 5-4-1 Pac-12) defeated San Diego State (8-7-2, 2-7-0) on Friday night with a score of 4-1 in the SDSU Sports Deck. The Bruins led the whole way after scoring two goals in the first ten minutes of the game.

Thirty seconds into the contest, redshirt freshman forward Jose Contell got the ball on the right wing and played a cross into the middle, which was put into the back of the net by sophomore defender Tommy Silva for the first score of the game. Silva completed his brace less than 10 minutes later after a steal by redshirt freshman midfielder Tucker Lepley.

After those first two goals, however, UCLA was unable to add to its first-half scoring total, while SDSU ended the first half with a goal in the 44th minute by forward Austin Wehner. The Aztecs also ended the first half with eight shots, compared to five for the Bruins, and had 12 first-half corner kicks to the blue and gold’s one.

Freshman goalkeeper Nate Crockford said he felt his team did a good job settling in as the game went on.

“We gave up a lot of corners and struggled a bit because we were disorganized in the first half,” Crockford said. “In the second half, we found our way and we did really well as a team once we got up three goals to make sure we put the game away and get the win.”

As soon as the second half started, UCLA was able to flip the switch and score two unanswered goals, one in the 51st minute and the other in the 72nd minute, while keeping its opponent scoreless for the rest of the game.

Crockford, who made his second start in goal because of an injury to senior goalkeeper Justin Garces, played all 90 minutes, ending the game with eight saves while allowing one goal. Coach Ryan Jorden said he was pleased with the freshman’s performance.

“He obviously has been very good filling in,” Jorden said. “He has two big wins against two really good teams, he has made some big saves and has definitely helped the team win.”

With the win, the Bruins finished the regular season four games above .500, with one win being above that mark in Pac-12 play. UCLA also finished third in the Pac-12.

The Bruins will find out how and if their season will continue during the NCAA tournament selection show on Monday.

“We are going to need to go back and look at the video, and refocus and look at the plan,” said graduate student midfielder Yoni Sorokin. “We will have to figure out the things we need to work on in order to be successful in the tournament.”

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