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UCLA men’s soccer to face Clemson in second round of NCAA tournament

Freshman goalkeeper Sam Joseph goes low for a save. Joseph got the nod in the net for the Bruin’s NCAA Tournament first-round matchup against Cal Baptist, his first collegiate action.(Jake Greenberg-Bell/Daily Bruin)

men's soccer


No.8 Clemson
Sunday, 6 p.m.

Historic Riggs Field
No TV info

By Alex Semerjian

Nov. 19, 2022 2:28 p.m.

Following a first-round victory, the Bruins will head across the country with hopes of extending their season further than last year.

UCLA men’s soccer (11-6-1, 4-4-1 Pac-12) will venture to South Carolina to take on Clemson Sunday evening (13-6-1, 3-4-1 ACC) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. After a 2-1 home victory against Cal Baptist in the first round on Thursday, the Bruins hope to carry their momentum against the Tigers.

While the Lancers got in the board first in Thursday’s contest, the Bruins responded in the eighth minute and again in the 70th minute to secure the victory. Freshman goalkeeper Sam Joseph contributed four saves in his first collegiate appearance. After an injury to starting sophomore goalkeeper Nate Crockford in practice, Joseph got the nod and may find himself in the net again on Sunday.

No. 6 seed Clemson, who received a bye in the first round, will attempt to defend UCLA on its home field. The reigning national champions aspire to replicate their postseason success from 2021 with a deep tournament run this year.

Clemson is spearheaded by midfielder Ousmane Sylla, who led the team with 17 points and was named to the All-ACC First Team. The Tigers finished as runners-up in the ACC tournament and will look to test a stingy Bruin backline that has allowed less than a goal per game to its opponents this season.

Coach Ryan Jorden said his team is confident, and can matchup to any opponent away from home.

“I think we feel like we can go play against anybody,” Jorden said. “We just went across the country to Rutgers who won the Big 10 three weeks ago, so now we’re going to go across the country and play a top team.”

This matchup represents the third all-time meeting between the two programs, with the last meeting in 2017 resulting in a 3-0 Tiger win. Last season, the Bruins played against another ACC opponent in Duke during the second round of the NCAA tournament, dropping the match – and their chances of a deep postseason run – 2-1.

Redshirt sophomore forward Jose Contell said the team is focused on appreciating their last few games playing together.

“At the end, right now, we face every game thinking that it is going to be our last game,” Contell said. “So the only thing that we talk about is just enjoy it, die for each other on the field because at the end of the day we are a family.”

Redshirt senior forward Kevin Diaz said UCLA needs to maintain mental stamina going into Sunday’s match.

“Main thing is just guts,” said Diaz. “We need to have that mentality, especially against Clemson, a very good team”.

The Bruins will take on the Tigers this Sunday at 3 p.m. at Historic Riggs Field.

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Alex Semerjian
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