UCLA began the year with high expectations, but a slow start raised serious questions about whether the Bruins were going to be a serious contender in 2011.
UCLA looked more like the team that began the year ranked No. 2 in the nation on Friday night, as a Chandler Hoffman hat-trick helped the No. 11-ranked Bruins post a 3-2 comeback victory over fellow West Coast powerhouse UCSB.
No. 5-ranked UCSB opened the scoring in the 35th minute when James Kiffe delivered a beautiful finish to give the Guachos going into halftime. The second half was all Bruins, who rattled off three unanswered goals, all by Hoffman. He found an equalizer early in the second half off a Kelyn Rowe pass, then made it 2-1 in the 67th minute by heading home a Rowe corner kick.
Hoffman completed the hat-trick just three minutes later, working a give-and-go with Victory Chavez before finishing the sequence with his third goal. A Sam Garza penalty kick made the score 3-2 but UCSB never did find the equalizer.
In other Friday Night college soccer action:
St. John's post another shutout, ties Indiana
No. 14 St. John's posted a fifth consecutive shutout, but couldn't convert its chances in a game that saw the Red Storm out play the visiting No. 8 ranked Hoosiers in a 0-0 draw in front of a record crowd of 2,077 at Belson Field in Queens, NY.
Maryland stays perfect
The No. 1 ranked Maryland Terrapins rolled to a 4-1 victory over North Carolina State in College Park, Maryland. The Terps were nearly held scoreless for the first half, but not before Miklas Eticha scored just seconds before halftime. Jereme Raley and John Sterter early in the second half to put the match out of reach.
New Mexico earns draw at Akron
The No. 6-ranked Akron Zips scored a first-half goal that had them looking ready for another home win, but visiting New Mexico had other plans and spoiled the party in Akron. A Kyle Venter goal in the 82nd minute gave the Lobos the equalizer, and after a scoreless pair of overtime periods, the match ended tied 1-1. The result marked the first time in Caleb Porter's tenure as Akron head coach that an Akron team blew a lead and failed to win a match it was leading at halftime.
FRIDAY COLLEGE SCOREBOARD