The UCLA women’s soccer team advanced to the NCAA College Cup on Saturday after a 1-0 upset of No. 6 Ohio State at Columbus, Ohio.
Sophomore midfielder Caitlin Ursini scored on a free kick from just outside the top of the penalty area in the 64th minute to hand Ohio State (19-4-3) its first home loss of the season and put UCLA in the national semifinals.
Ursini, a former San Pedro High standout, sent a right-footed shot into the bottom left corner of the net. It was her first goal of the season.
“We have been working on [set pieces] all week in practice,” Ursini said. “I just tried to keep it low and hit it hard and that’s what I did.”
UCLA (17-6) will face Princeton in a national semifinal at Cary, N.C., on Friday. The winner of that match will face the winner of Santa Clara and Notre Dame for the title on Dec. 5. The Bruins will be making their second consecutive appearance in the College Cup and their third in the last five seasons.
The Bruin goal came after Ohio State’s Emily Francis was red carded for a foul from behind on UCLA midfielder Danesha Adams, who had taken a pass from Iris Mora and was on a breakaway.
UCLA goalkeeper Valerie Henderson posted her fourth consecutive shutout in the tournament and had to make only two saves. The Bruins have outscored their opponents, 7-0, in that span.
“We are very excited to be heading back to the College Cup,” UCLA Coach Jillian Ellis said. “Ohio State is an excellent team, so to be able to get this result in a tough environment on the road is very special. I’m just so excited right now.”
In other quarterfinal games played Friday and Saturday: Princeton defeated Washington, 3-1; Notre Dame knocked off Portland, 3-1; and Santa Clara ousted Illinois, 2-0.
Andre Schmid scored in the 41st minute and Ryan Kelly scored in the 60th minute as St. John’s hung on for a 2-1 victory over UCLA in a third-round NCAA men’s soccer tournament game at Drake Stadium.
UCLA (14-4-2) got a goal from Mike Enfield in the 73rd minute but couldn’t get the equalizer although the Bruins kept pressure on St. John’s goalkeeper Bill Gaudette.
UCLA’s best chance to tie came with about 12 minutes to play when Enfield dribbled around Gaudette but couldn’t catch up to the rolling ball in time to put it into an open net.
St. John’s (12-5-4) will next face the winner of today’s Maryland-Creighton match.
In another third-round game played Saturday, top-seeded Wake Forest was upset by Virginia Commonwealth, losing, 7-6, on penalty kicks after the teams were tied 2-2 after regulation and overtime.
Four more quarterfinal matches will be played today, including UC Santa Barbara, which finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the NSCAA/Adidas Coaches poll, playing at North Carolina Greensboro at 11 a.m. PST.