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Bruin Women Advance

A 2-0 victory over Pepperdine puts UCLA in the third round of the NCAA playoffs.

November 17, 2003|Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writer

The UCLA women's soccer team knows that dominating the field of play and putting the most shots on goal don't guarantee a victory, especially in the NCAA playoffs.

Putting the ball in the net is what matters most, and the Bruins took care of that Sunday afternoon against Pepperdine. Iris Mora and Lindsay Greco scored 44 seconds apart in the second half to lead UCLA to a 2-0, second-round victory at Drake Stadium.

UCLA (18-1-3) will face Kansas, a 2-0 winner over Missouri, in the third round Friday at home.

Sunday, the fourth-seeded Bruins controlled play throughout, racking up decisive advantages in shots, quality chances and, ultimately, goals.

"Look, we knew we weren't going to match up with them athletically," Pepperdine Coach Tim Ward said. "They're one of the best teams in the country. Player for player, they're fantastic. Our only hope was to let the ball run quicker than their legs could carry them."

Pepperdine (14-6-1) has established itself as one of the best teams in Southern California with playoff appearances the last three years and a third-round finish last season. UCLA showed there is still a clear gap between the teams.

The Bruins had 24 shots on goal and didn't allow one officially until the final seconds when goalkeeper Arianna Criscione made her only save. Nandi Pryce, the Pacific 10 Conference co-player of the year, Amy Fazio, Kendal Billingsley and Kathryn Lee bottled up Wave forwards Lacey Ubaldi and Megan Woods.

"We've had these 22-0 shots on goal before," Pryce said. "This year we have goal scorers that like to keep pounding and they're going to get one. I don't think we can be stopped if we show up."

UCLA remembers last season's NCAA quarterfinal against Texas A&M, when the Bruins didn't allow the Aggies a shot on goal through regulation and two overtimes but lost the match on penalty kicks.

There would be no similar occurrence Sunday. At 61:29, Fazio sent a cross from the left side toward the net and Mora slipped between Pepperdine's Diana Sanguinetti and Ashley Swanson and headed the ball past goalie Anna Picarelli.

"We felt like we were going to score," UCLA Coach Jillian Ellis said.

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