[UCLA-PORTLAND 2-1]UCLA earned a spot in the NCAA College Cup for the seventh consecutive season on Saturday with a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Portland on goals byKylie Wrightand Lauren Cheney.
UCLA (21-2-1) will face Pac-10 rival Stanford (24-0) next Friday at 5:30 p.m. (CST) in College Station, Texas. The Cardinal advanced with a 3-1 victory over Boston College on Friday evening.
Portland scored just two minutes into the match on a goal by Danielle Foxhoven, her 25th of the year. Kendra Chandhoke fed Foxhoven the ball on the right side, enabling her to get off a quick shot to the near post past a diving Chante' Sandiford.
UCLA dominated thereafter, pulling even in the 31st minute on Wright's third goal of the year. Kristina Larsen dribbled toward the top of the box pulling several Pilot defenders her way. She played the ball off to Wright, who unleashed a shot that deflected off Portland defender Michelle Olivierand into the goal.
Cheney then scored what ended up being the game-winning goal a little more than three minutes later on a left-footed shot from about 12 yards out. Defender Lauren Barnes drove a ball from the back all the way up to Cheney, who was making a run deep in Portland territory. She trapped the ball in stride and was able to quickly send a shot past former UCLA goalkeeper Kelsey Davis.
With that goal, Cheney moved into sole possession of first place on the UCLA career scoring list, as she now has 171 points on 70 goals and 31 assists. She surpasses Traci Arkenberg, who had 169 points as a player from 1994-97.
UCLA's defense was tremendous on Saturday, limiting the Pilots to just seven total shots. In fact, the Bruins' back line of Barnes, Dea Cook, Jenna Belcherand Lauren Wilmoth also didn't allow a single shot for 80 straight minutes following Portland's goal at the 2:01 mark of the first half.
One of Portland's best chances of the night came in the 82nd minute when the Pilots were awarded a free kick from about 35 yards out. Sophie Schmidttook the kick, hitting a high ball that Sandiford had to jump up and push over the crossbar for a corner kick.
"This team is just unbelievable," said Cheney. We took it to them in the first half. Every player played their hearts out tonight and that's all you can ask for in a quarterfinal.
UCLA improves to 8-1 all-time against Portland. It marks the Bruins' fifth straight win in the series.
"It should be a close game in the quarterfinals of the NCAA playoffs," Portland head coach Garrett Smith said of the outcome. "It sometimes comes down to a little bit of luck. UCLA is a great team playing at home, and they put us on our heels. We battled back trying to dig ourselves out of our hole, but this is a tough place to get a win. I'm proud of our team."