UCLA men’s soccer meets Clemson in the second round of the NCAA tournament

After a first-round win, the Bruins will travel across the country hoping to extend their season even further than last year.

UCLA men’s soccer (11-6-1, 4-4-1 Pac-12) will venture to South Carolina to face Clemson (13-6-1, 3-4-1 ACC) in the second round on Sunday night to compete NCAA tournament. After beating Cal Baptist 2-1 at home in the first round on Thursday, the Bruins are hoping to carry their momentum against the Tigers.

While the Lancers got on the board first in Thursday’s contest, the Bruins responded in the eighth minute and again in the 70th to secure the win. Freshman goaltender Sam Joseph contributed four saves in his first collegiate appearance. Joseph was awarded the contract after second goalkeeper Nate Crockford was injured in training and may find himself back in the net on Sunday.

Clemson, number 6, who received a bye in the first round, will look to defend UCLA on their home field. The reigning national champions are looking to repeat their post-season success of 2021 with an intense tournament run this year.

Clemson is led by midfielder Ousmane Sylla, who led the team with 17 points and was named to the All-ACC First Team. The Tigers finished runners-up in the ACC tournament and will be looking to test a stingy Bruin backline that has allowed their opponents fewer than a goal per game this season.

Coach Ryan Jorden said his team is confident and can keep up with any opponent away from home.

“I think we feel like we can play anyone,” said Jorden. “We just went across country to Rutgers who won the Big 10 three weeks ago so now we’re going to go across country and play against a top team.”

This matchup represents the third all-time clash between the two programs, with the last clash in 2017 resulting in a 3-0 win for Tiger. Last season, the Bruins played another ACC opponent in Duke in the second round of the NCAA tournament, dropping the match — and their chances of a deep postseason run — 2-1.

Redshirt sophomore forward Jose Contell said the team is focused on appreciating recent games together.

“In the end we now face every game and think it will be our last game,” said Contell. “So the only thing we’re talking about is just enjoying dying for each other on the field because at the end of the day we’re family.”

Redshirt forward Kevin Diaz said UCLA needed to hold on mentally ahead of Sunday’s game.

“The main thing is courage,” says Diaz. “We have to have that mentality, especially against Clemson, a very good team.”

The Bruins will take on the Tigers this Sunday at 3:00 p.m. at Historic Riggs Field.

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