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UCLA men’s soccer to face San Diego State in final conference matchup

Oncoming defenders watch junior defender Tommy Silva dribble the ball. Silva has been historically successful against the Aztecs, notching four goals across five total games in his collegiate career.
(Joseph Jimenez/Assistant Photo editor)

By Nick Darrow

Nov. 11, 2022 3:21 p.m.

After 16 regular season contests, the Bruins will take the pitch for the final time before the postseason on Friday.

UCLA men’s soccer (9-6-1, 3-4-1 Pac-12) will match up against San Diego State (5-8-4, 1-5-3) on Friday night at the SDSU Sports Deck. The Bruins previously took on the Aztecs on Oct. 7, coming away with a 2-0 result at Wallis Annenberg Stadium. Even though the Bruins were outshot by the Aztecs 16-12, the team scored two second-half goals to pull away with the victory.

Junior defender Tommy Silva, who got the second goal in the two teams’ last matchup, has played five games against the Aztecs in his three-year career. Across those five games, Silva has four goals and two assists, leading the Bruins to three wins and two draws.

Silva said even with his individual success in his career against the Aztecs, he has his team to thank for the opportunities.

“Our team has played well against SDSU the past couple of years, and that has helped put me in good positions,” Silva said. “Hopefully we can continue that on Friday and I can contribute and get on the score sheet.”

A major key for the blue and gold this season has been its leadership from sophomore goalkeeper Nate Crockford. The Bruins have kept a shutout in four of their last six games and eight times throughout the season – ranking 12th nationally – and are allowing only 3.8 shots on goal so far this season.

Crockford said keeping a similar preparation plan for each and every game has been crucial for him and his backline throughout the year.

“Whether we play them home or away, I think that it will be a good game, as they are a solid team,” Crockford said. “We just need to make sure we prepare the same way, and I think we can go out there and get a good result.”

Right now the Bruins sit in fourth place in the Pac-12 standings, with 10 points in eight games so far this season. The Aztecs, on the other hand, sit in fifth place with six points in nine games.

With a win in this contest – the season finale for both squads – the Bruins will advance to 10 regular season wins for back-to-back seasons, a first in coach Ryan Jorden’s career. Jorden said he is impressed by his team’s continued ability to improve in each and every game this season.

“We have continued to grow throughout the season and have gotten to a place we can be happy with as a team,” Jorden said. “We just need to make sure we continue to get fractionally better every time we take the field, and this weekend is a great place to start.”

The Bruins finish off their schedule with this game against the Aztecs on Friday night at 7 p.m. in San Diego. The squad will then wait until Monday for the selection show to see whether or not it has received an NCAA tournament bid.

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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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