This is Kyle’s fifth post.
What a year for UCLA men’s soccer.
I haven’t blogged in a while, so for those who haven’t been following our season closely, I’ll try to catch you up.
We ended up finishing our season with a 8-8-3 record; not particularly what we were hoping for, but we all knew we needed to have at least a .500 record to have any hope of qualifying for the playoffs.
With our fingers crossed, we anticipated the day of the draw to find out that we did, in fact, make the playoffs and were going to have a first round home game.
We were all very relieved to hear the news and for an entire week prepared for our first round game against New Mexico, anxious to get the playoffs started.
The one point we all made before going into the Saturday night game was that the past is history.
We all knew that we did not have the season we had hoped for, but each individual learned something important from every setback we encountered this year. We did not look at the season as a failure, but as a learning experience.
Most importantly, we discussed how important it was for us to act now, and that the present is a gift.
So, why not take advantage of the opportunity that we are given?
With that mindset, we came out with a win in our first playoff game in front of a large, supportive crowd. We set the past behind us and focused on what was at hand.
The playoffs are a second chance to showcase to the nation our great ability as a team. I believe we truly did accomplish that with our win against New Mexico, with great performances by everyone on the team.
With the first win behind us, we are looking forward to our second round game against Santa Clara on Wednesday at Santa Clara.
If anyone is not aware, we lost to Santa Clara earlier this year in overtime.
We are seeking revenge.
Kyle is apparently too modest to talk about his contribution in the win against New Mexico.
Here’s how the UCLA press office described it:
Bend It Like Naka Sophomore midfielder Kyle Nakazawa’s bending free kick for a goal with 1:39 remaining in regulation provided a dramatic finish for the Bruins in a 1-0 victory over New Mexico in the NCAA first round. Nakazawa earned the free kick when he was taken down just outside the penalty box. His curled his free kick around the Lobos wall and into the back of the net for his third goal of the year and first off a free kick.
“It was an unbelievable way to finish the game,” Nakazawa said. “When I first lined it up, I didn’t see an angle, but then I found a little hole and thought I could bend it in. I couldn’t have hit it any better. It was one of the greatest feelings I have had in my college career.”
It was Nakazawa’s second game-winning goal of the season. Both have come in the final two minutes of the game. On Oct. 21 at Washington, he scored the game-winner with 53 seconds left in regulation in a 3-2 victory. Nakazawa ranks second on the team in goals (3) and points (13) and is the team and Pac-10 leader in assists with seven.