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UCLA Men’s Soccer Uses Late Jose Contell Goal to Beat Virginia Tech

With 10 minutes to go, the Bruins pulled ahead of the Hokies and won yet another 1-0 match at home.
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The Bruins and Hokies both turned in encore performances from their respective season openers, meeting near-identical fates when they faced off at Wallis Annenberg Stadium.

Like they had in their season opener Thursday, No. 23 UCLA men's soccer (2-0) emerged with another 1-0 victory Sunday, this time besting ACC challenger Virginia Tech (0-2). The Hokies had also lost their first match of the year 1-0 to Grand Canyon, so both sides got dealt a heavy dose of deja vu.

The Bruins had the leg up in chances and possession once again, but the final result came down much closer to the wire than it did against UC Irvine in the opener.

Despite getting off 10 shots to Virginia Tech's five and holding their opponent without a single shot on target for the second game in a row, UCLA entered the final 10 minutes locked in a 0-0 tie. The chances were there, but the Bruins were unable to capitalize – a diving header by sophomore defender Pietro Grassi bounced just outside the crossbar in the 47th minute, while junior defender Grayson Doody's shot in the 58th was saved.

The Hokies recorded their only shot of the second half in the 77th, although it sailed wide and didn't require a save by sophomore keeper Nate Crockford.

Then, early in the 81st minute, junior defender Tommy Silva delivered a speedy, bouncing cross from the left side. Redshirt sophomore forward Jose Contell slipped behind a defender on the opposite end of the box and slid in for the one-timer, sneaking it inside the right post for the game-winning goal.

The Spaniard rocked the cradle and spun into a backflip in celebration, punctuating the moment with a fist pump as his teammates swarmed him.

Virginia Tech had a corner kick in the 88th minute, but ultimately didn't get a great chance at an equalizer in the limited time remaining.

Crockford recorded his second clean sheet of the year as a result, but he still has yet to tally a save two matches into the young 2022 campaign. The Bruins' backline has kept opponents at bay entirely, with Silva, Grassi and sophomore Aaron Edwards all going the full 90 minutes Sunday.

UCLA will continue its season-opening homestand against Liberty on Friday before taking on Grand Canyon – the same team that also beat Virginia Tech 1-0 earlier in the week – on Monday.

Kickoff between the Bruins and Flames is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Wallis Annenberg Stadium on Friday night.

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