Before the 1990 collegiate season began, UCLA Coach Sigi Schmid told a few close coaching friends that his Bruins had enough talent to win another NCAA Division I soccer championship.
Sunday, after 150 minutes of scoreless play that included four overtimes, Schmid’s premonition was fulfilled at the University of South Florida.
The Bruins beat Rutgers, 4-3, on penalty kicks to claim a second NCAA championship. UCLA won the first time, 1-0, over American University in eight five-minute overtimes in 1985.
The first NCAA tournament games decided by penalty kicks gave UCLA a title even though the Bruins were scoreless in 270 minutes Saturday or Sunday. In Saturday’s semifinal against North Carolina State, UCLA won on penalty kicks, 5-3, after two scoreless overtimes.
Sunday, freshman Jorge Salcedo’s penalty kick--UCLA’s fourth--slid under the cross bar, ending a 3-hour 20-minute match which degenerated as time went on because of fatigue.
“I said we were a team of destiny, and you’ve got to be lucky to win anything in a cup competition,” Schmid said. “I don’t want to see a lot more of those (penalty-kick) games.”
UCLA (19-1-4) and Rutgers (20-3-2) played give-and-take through the first 90 minutes, the Bruins taking control of the tempo after 25 minutes.
But Rutgers defended staunchly and used a little luck to push the game to penalty kicks.
UCLA’s Billy Thompson hit the post in the 84th minute, Joe Max-Moore missed wide from eight yards in the 114th minute and Paul Ratcliffe watched as a defender deflected what seemed a sure goal in the 137th minute.
Midfielder Alexi Lalas’ header off the bar in the 105th minute was Rutgers’ only clear-cut chance.
In the end, penalty kicks were the only way to decide the game.
Shooting first, Lino DiCuollo of Rutgers scored, but UCLA’s Sam George shot weakly, with Rutgers’ Bill Androcki saving.
Max-Moore scored in the second round to tie the kicks, 1-1, after Rutgers’ Steve Rammel missed wide. When Dave Mueller of Rutgers shot high and Tim Gallegos of UCLA scored, the Bruins led 2-1.
Rutgers’ Maurice Mazzocchi converted the fourth attempt, and UCLA’s Chris Henderson matched him, keeping the Bruins ahead 3-2.
Chris Beach kept Rutgers alive temporarily with a third conversion, leaving it up to Salcedo.
There was never a doubt. The midfielder from Cerritos blasted a high, right-center shot directly under the bar.