Nov. 29, 2009

LOS ANGELES - Stopping a team like the Portland Pilots women's soccer team has been nearly impossible this year.

But Saturday, UCLA used physical play on the ball to stop the Pilots' scoring spree and advance to the College Cup against Stanford next week at College Station, Texas.

The Pilots scored an eye-popping 82 goals this season and had seven games in which they scored five goals or more, including an 8-0 win over the San Francisco Dons back on Oct. 12.

Prior to Saturday, only one team, Texas A&M, found a way to slow down the Pilots during the regular season. The Aggies handed Portland a 3-1 defeat on Sept. 18. And Saturday, at perhaps the most important time in the season, the Bruins became just the second team to hang a loss on the Pilots, as they came from behind to defeat Portland, 2-1, in an NCAA Division I quarterfinal at Drake Stadium on Saturday.

Leading into the quarterfinal, four players scored 10 or more goals this season: Danielle Foxhoven was the catalyst for the Pilots, with 24 while Michelle Enyeart had 13, Sophie Schmidt had 12 and Halley Kreminski had 10. There were almost five in double digits - Kendra Chandhoke scored nine for the season.

"We were ultra ready for this team," UCLA junior midfielder Kiley Wright said of facing Portland. "With Portland being Portland, we just came out and played the best we could."

Prolific Portland scored first in Saturday's match, when Foxhoven scored just two minutes in. But it was the only goal the Pilots would score and UCLA made that goal a rallying point.

"We had to step it up and make our presence known that they can't score on us again," UCLA senior forward Kristina Larsen said. "(Portland was) awesome and they were a challenge up top for us."

A challenge UCLA was up to. The Bruins turned up the intensity and limited the Pilots' scoring opportunities while making a few of their own.

UCLA's resolve was to be expected with a seventh straight trip to the College Cup hanging in the balance. Foxhoven's second-minute strike was the only shot Portland would get in the first half. Comparatively, the Bruins had 14 shots and goals from Larsen and Lauren Cheney put UCLA in front.

"They (Portland) still did really good, we were just on defensively," Larsen said. " We just knew with their early goal, we couldn't afford anymore shots from them, so we just buckled down."

CARD GAME: Physical play showed throughout the match, as the two teams were whistled for a combined 26 fouls. UCLA had 14 fouls and Portland 12, but only three yellow cards were handed out. "They came out physical as well," Larsen said. "We knew that on the ball, we had to make our presence (known)."