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WOMEN'S COLLEGE SOCCER

Record playoff crowd sees UCLA defeat USC, 1-0

November 23, 2008|Eric Sondheimer

A crowd of 3,114 was at UCLA's Drake Stadium on Saturday night to watch an NCAA round-of-16 women's soccer game that ended with UCLA defeating USC, 1-0.

It was the largest crowd to attend a women's playoff game in Southern California.

What created strong interest was a matchup between the defending NCAA champion Trojans (16-5-2) and a Bruins (21-0-2) team that has made it to the College Cup five consecutive years.

Kristina Larsen scored the only goal, 12 minutes 20 seconds into the game. It came off a corner kick.

UCLA outshot the Trojans, 16-7, and it wasn't until 79 minutes into the game that Trojans All-American Amy Rodriguez got off her first and only shot.

Rodriguez, who played on the gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympic team last summer, was shadowed by UCLA's outstanding group of defenders, led by Erin Hardy. The Bruins recorded a school-record 19th shutout and have given up only four goals this season.

"They've been just stellar," UCLA Coach Jillian Ellis said of her defenders.

A year ago, the Bruins were beaten by USC, 2-1, in the College Cup semifinals, with Rodriguez scoring two goals, but Ellis was confident there would not be a repeat performance.

"They were determined," Ellis said of her players.

UCLA will play Duke on Saturday at Drake Stadium.

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