Oct. 29, 2006
LOS ANGELES - Sixth-ranked California clinched it first Pac-10 title with a 4-1 victory over defending conference champion UCLA on Sunday at Drake Stadium. Junior forward Javier Ayala-Hil scored a hat trick to help power the Golden Bears (12-4-1, 7-2-0 Pac-10) to today's win, which gave Cal 21 points and an insurmountable lead in the conference.
Cal snaps UCLA's run of four straight conference crowns.
The Bears last won a conference championship when it won the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) title in 1996 and also won the Pacific Soccer Conference championship in 1983.
Second-place San Diego State has 17 points after a 1-0 win over Stanford today, but the Aztecs have just one game left in the regular season and, with three points awarded for a win, cannot catch Cal. UCLA (9-5-3, 4-3-2 Pac-10), which hosts the Aztecs this Friday, and Stanford (6-7-4, 4-3-2), which hosts Cal on Friday, are tied with 14 points each at No. 3. But each team also has just one game remaining in the regular season and likewise cannot catch the Bears.
Cal is a likely at-large entrant into the NCAA Championship, but the Pac-10 does not have an automatic qualifying bid this season. ESPNews will broadcast the NCAA Championship tournament field on Monday, Nov. 6.
Against the Bruins, Cal took a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute on an Ayala-Hil goal set up by senior midfielder Nick Hatzke and junior midfielder Andrew Jacobson. The product of East Palo Alto, Calif., chested down a pass in the UCLA box and scored from 12 yards.
UCLA tied the match at 1-1 when David Estrada headed in the Bruins' lone goal in the 50th minute.
Ayala-Hil scored in the 58th minute to give Cal the lead for good at 2-1, and senior defender Steve Purdy scored off a 25-yard free kick in the 65th minute to give the Bears a 3-1 lead.
In the 77th minute, freshman midfielder Hector Jimenez crossed the ball into the Bruins' box to Ayala-Hil, who converted an eight-yard shot for the game's final goal and his ninth goal of the season.
Cal treks to Stanford for its final game of the regular season at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3.
GAME SUMMARY 1 2 F UCLA 0 1 1 California 1 3 4
Scoring Cal - Javier Ayala-Hil (Nick Hatzke, Andrew Jacobson) 11:48 UCLA - David Estrada (Kiel McClung) 49:16 Cal - Javier Ayala-Hil 57:14 Cal - Steve Purdy 64:25 Cal - Javier Ayala-Hil (Hector Jimenez) 76:40
Shots by Period 1 2 Total UCLA 10 7 17 California 4 10 14
Red Cards None.
Records: California 12-4-1 (7-2-0 Pac-10). UCLA 9-5-3 (4-3-2 Pac-10).