Going into Sunday’s game against Creighton, UCLA men’s soccer Coach Sigi Schmid knew his team had to stop midfielder Richard Mulrooney.
But a week after scoring two goals in the first round of the NCAA tournament, Mulrooney assisted on both Bluejay goals as Creighton defeated the Bruins, 2-0, in a second-round game at UCLA’s North Athletic Field.
The loss ends defending champion UCLA’s season at 17-4-0 and means Creighton (15-3-2) advances to the third round for the second time in nine tournament appearances.
“We are very fortunate to come in here and do well against UCLA,” Creighton Coach Bret Simon said. “We had a little luck shining on us because there was a lot of pressure on us all day [by the Bruin offense].”
For the first 15 minutes, UCLA dominated the match, getting several opportunities in the Creighton end, but failed to score.
In the 17th minute, Mulrooney, who led the Missouri Valley Conference in assists and tied for the lead in points, showed why he is one of the best passers in the nation.
After the Bluejays were given a free kick following a yellow card on Bruin midfielder Ryan Futagaki, Mulrooney sent a pass from just outside the goal box to the front of the net, where a leaping Peter Henning sent a header past Bruin goalie Nick Rimando for a 1-0 lead.
“We’ve worked on that play all year,” Mulrooney said. “I hit it firm and Peter put it in the goal. That gave us confidence that we could play with UCLA.”
The Bruins came out the aggressor in the second half as well, but again it was Creighton which made its shots count.
Forward Brian Mullan scored in the 61st minute on a cross from Mike Bustos. Mulrooney set up the play by controlling the ball in the Bruin end and feeding it to Bustos.