Leo Stolz - Senior - Midfielder - UCLA -
Stolz led the way for the UCLA Bruins who had to come from behind to defeat a very determined San Diego team 2-1 in overtime on Sunday night. The contest was the seventh of the year in which UCLA has gone into extra time. Stolz netted the equalizer in the contest and pumped new life into the Bruins when he drove a shot out of a free kick from thirty yards out into the bottom right corner of the net in the 55th minute of the game. He netted the game-winner seven minutes into the first overtime session when he drove a shot into the back of the net from the middle of the box using his left foot after freshman forward Abu Danladi set it up by beating his man and then dropping off a ball that Stolz ran onto and finished with his left foot. Stolz has scored a total of nine goals thus far in the 2014 season.
Bruin head coach Jorge Salcedo stated, "The game winning goal was a great individual play by Abu (Danladi) and a really good finish from Leo."
UCLA improves to 12-4-4 overall and advances to the third round of the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in the past six seasons where they will host a familiar foe in Califonia on Sunday, November 30. The Bruins were defeated by California 3-2 in overtime on October 10 in Berkeley and 1-0 on November 2 in Los Angeles when the two teams faced each other during regular season play.
Jeff Salt - RS Junior - Goalkeeper - Cal State Fullerton -
No player in the country likely had more of an impact on the success of his team this week than Cal State Fullerton netminder Jeff Salt. It began when the Titans defeated UC Riverside on the road 3-0 in the semifinals of the Big West Conference Tournament. In that match Salt had six saves including a momemtum changing stop of a penalty kick early in the match. Salt also had four saves in the championship match with UC Irvine that was tied 0-0 at the end of regulation and extra time. He made two saves in the ensuing penalty kick shootout which paved the way for Cal State Fullerton to prevail 3-2 in penalty kicks to claim the Big West Tournament Championship and the conference's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. For his efforts he was named the Big West Tournament MVP.
Salt has stopped seven of the eleven penalty kick attempts he has faced this season.
It was an impressive outcome for the Titans from Cal State Fullerton who under the direction of George Kuntz won the the Big West Tournament Championship for the first time since the tourney began in 2008 and return to the NCAA Tournament field for the first time since the 2000 season.
Cal State Fullerton and the rest of the country awaits the announcement of the NCAA Tournament selection committee on Monday, November 17 to find out who they will face in the NCAA Tournament.
Robert Kristo - Senior - Forward - Saint Louis -
Kristo has been coming up with big plays for the Billikens since joining the program as a freshman in 2011. He is part of a long line of extremelly talented playmakers coming out of the St. Louis area. This week Kristo netted his eleventh goal of the 2014 season when he sent a blast just inside the far post out of a free kick to give Saint Louis the edge they needed to top an always competitive VCU team 1-0 on the road. Five of Kristo's eleven goals this year have been game winners. His abilty to finish is reflected in the fact that he has thrity-eight career goals to date.
The number two seeded Billikens are unbeaten in their last five contests (4-0-1) and should enter what looks to be a very competitive and exciting Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament with a ton of determination, confidence,and momentum. They are 12-3-2 overall with a 5-1-2 mark in conference play and will tangle with number seven seeded LaSalle on Thursday, November 13 at Sports Backers Stadium in Richmond, Virginia.
Nick DePuy - Sophomore - Forward - UC Santa Barbara -
DePuy came through in the clutch on the offensive side of the ball in two crucial Big West Conference contests for a focused, determined, and patient UC Santa Barbara team. He one-touched the game winning goal into the back of the net going to the far post in the 99th minute of play after receiving a cross from teammate Ismaila Jome whose run down the left flank helped create the scoring opportunity. The heads up passing of sophomore midfielder Drew Murphy and freshman midfielder Ryo Fuji also set up the score.
DePuy also scored twice to play a key role in UCSB's 2-0 win on the road over Cal Poly before a crowd of 11,075 fans at Spanos Stadium in San Luis Obispo. DePuy's first goal was a strike from fifteen yards out to the near left post that was set up by a through ball from freshman forward Ludwig Ahl. His second score was a header from ten yards out with Ahl again contributing the assist. DePuy has scored a total of eight goals to date including five game winners. The Gauchos are unbeaten in their last four contests to improve to 9-6-3 with a 5-2-2 mark in conference play.
UC Santa Barbara will seek to keep their momentum going when they travel to tangle with the Hornets of Sacramento State in another Big West Conference matchup on Wednesday, November 5 to close out regular season play.