The Bruins nearly suffered a fate they have become far too familiar with over the past month, but a passing storm led to a twist ending.
No. 22 UCLA men's soccer's (8-5-1, 3-3-1 Pac-12) match against Stanford (5-5-4) ended in a 1-1 draw Sunday afternoon. The Bruins had taken a lead in the second half, only to watch it erased not long after, much like their previous three road games in which they were ahead in the final 45 minutes and still managed to lose.
That wasn't going to happen this time around, like it did against Oregon State, Washington and Cal, since Sunday's game was called off early.
When the 90 minutes of regulation were up, the score was knotted at one goal apiece, both of them scored in a total downpour hanging over Palo Alto. The game started 30 minutes ahead of schedule to hopefully wrap up before things got too extreme, but the last-ditch effort was ultimately for naught.
Officials signaled an end to the match while the teams were preparing for overtime, and UCLA has now tied its first game of the fall season.
It seemed for a brief moment that what wound up being a draw could have been a win for the Bruins.
Redshirt freshman midfielder Tucker Lepley set up a corner kick in the 73rd minute moments after freshman defender Pietro Grassi had his shot blocked out of bounds. Lepley sent it to redshirt freshman forward Jose Contell in the box, but Contell's shot was blocked as well, setting up another corner for UCLA.
Once again, Lepley fired one into traffic, but this time, Stanford goalkeeper Matt Frank punched it up in the air. Senior forward Kevin Diaz won the 50/50 ball by heading it over to Contell on the left post, and the young forward buried it for the go-ahead one-time finish.
Three of the four players involved in that sequence are playing their first season with the Bruins, and the group of young guns were directly responsible for giving their team a 1-0 lead in the 74th.
Less than 10 minutes later, however, the Cardinal were making their way downfield. UCLA got called for a foul, which set up a set piece for Stanford on the right wing.
Defender Noah Adnan rose up and headed it toward the right post. With senior goalkeeper Justin Garces drifting to the left as the cross came in, the right side of the net was open and the ball trickled in to tie things up in the 82nd.
Garces had held his own the rest of the match, coming seven minutes from shutting out Stanford for the second time this season. The Bruins won that match 2-0 back on Sept. 16, their first win over the Cardinal since 2013, and Garces played a big part by making two first half saves that set the tone for the night.
On Sunday, Garces saved the first four shots sent his way, including a long diving stop in the opening moments of the second half.
Both UCLA and Stanford had opportunities to potentially break the tie in the final moments, but Frank saved a shot by Grassi in the 86th minute and Garces watched forward Gabe Segal's shot sail wide of the framework in the 87th.
The Bruins got off more shots, but the Cardinal were more precise with their chances, getting 55.5% of their shots on goal compared to the visiting Bruins' 30%. UCLA also got roughed up quite a bit, with Stanford racking up double the fouls with 18.
UCLA now has just two wins in its last six matches after winning six of seven leading up to this current stretch. Most of their struggles continue to come away from home, posting a 1-3-1 record on the road while winning at a 77.8% clip at Wallis Annenberg Stadium.
Ultimately, the heavy rain prevented the Bruins from either slipping down the stretch again or turning the tides with a golden goal in extra time.
UCLA will return to Westwood for its final home matches of the season against Washington and Oregon State on Sunday.