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NCAA Soccer : San Diego St. Beats UCLA to Advance to Semifinals

November 30, 1987|CHRIS ELLO | Special to The Times

San Diego State goalkeeper Bryan Finnerty gets this feeling.

"It's like there is Saran Wrap around our goal, and nothing can go in it," Finnerty said.

For the final 35 minutes of Sunday's NCAA quarterfinal soccer match between San Diego State and UCLA, the Bruins had the feeling of being wrapped-up.

UCLA hit the goal post three times and was denied by Finnerty and his sweeper Chris Keenan on two other tries as the Aztecs hung on for a 2-1 win and advanced to the NCAA semifinals for the first time.

The Aztecs haven't won an NCAA championship since the men's volleyball team won a national title in 1973.

The Aztecs (19-5) will meet undefeated Harvard in one semifinal match next weekend, and Clemson will face North Carolina in the other. The site of the matches will be determined this week.

UCLA, which had not lost to the Aztecs in 17 games since 1969, finished 13-7-1.

"It's been a long time in coming for us to finally beat them," Aztec Coach Chuck Clegg said. "And it took a long time to wrap this one up. I don't know if I could ever go through that last 30 minutes again."

After freshman Eric Wynalda broke a 1-1 tie 10 minutes into the second half, UCLA put constant pressure on the Aztecs but could not score.

Ten minutes after Wynalda's goal, UCLA's sophomore forward Bill Thompson gathered a rebound and, with his back to the goal, spun around for a line-drive shot that just deflected off the left goal post.

A few minutes later, Thompson again had a rebound and he put his shot on goal. But Finnerty deflected it with his left hand over the crossbar.

With 12 minutes left, Thompson finally beat the goal post and Finnerty with a low shot from the right side of the Aztec net. But, Keenan was there to kick the ball off the goal line.

"After the shot, they started jumping up and down like they had scored," Keenan said. "But, I had slipped behind Bryan and I was able to get my leg on it."

"It seemed all of their other shots were hitting the posts, so I just figured this one did, too," Finnerty said. "The goal post was really my best friend in this game."

In the first half, San Diego State's Gerardo Jimenez took a crossing pass from Kyle Whittemore and beat UCLA goaltender Anton Nistl for a 1-0 lead.

UCLA tied the game midway through the first half when Aztec midfielder Curt Lewis, in an attempt to pass back to Keenan, instead passed to a Bruins' forward Jeff Hooker, who tied it, 1-1.

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