Virginia Falls to UCLA in ChampionshipRICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A second chance was all Matt Reis needed.
Three years after he allowed four goals in a bitter loss to Indiana in the 1994 national semifinals, Reis finished a spectacular return to the Final Four on Sunday by leading UCLA to the NCAA men's soccer championship.
Reis made nine saves, including a few of the remarkable variety, and Seth George scored in the 80th and 82nd minutes as the Bruins beat Virginia 2-0.
"It feels great," said Reis, who had stopped a career-best 11 shots against Indiana on Friday. "You only get so many chances and you have to seize the moment. I wasn't ready to seize my opportunity in '94."
This time, he seized everything sent his way, making 20 saves in two games after he needed to make just 66 in 18 matches during the regular season.
"We tried. We missed four or five good opportunities and he did well," Virginia star Ben Olsen said of Reis. "He was definitely the most valuable player of the game. He came up big for them."
In the 35th minute, Reis made a diving stop on Chris Albright, whose shot from about 8 yards was headed for the lower right corner.
About five minutes later, he turned away a streaking Brian West, meeting him about 7 yards out to cut down the angle and deflecting the ball away.
And again in the 52nd minute, with Jason Moore breaking in alone, Reis met him about 23 yards out, just in time to send the shot bounding away.
"He anticipated that play unbelievably," said Virginia coach George Gelnovatch, who said he thought West and Moore both would score.
The Bruins (22-2-0) played more than 131 minutes against Indiana on Friday before McKinley Tennyson scored. The championship match looked very similar, too, until a 3-on-1 break gave them their first scoring chance.
Reserve forward Jason Keller started the scoring play, sliding a pass to Martin Bruno on his left. Bruno then fed George, who was rushing in alongside, and George's blast easily beat Cavaliers keeper Brock Yetso.
"Martin could have taken it himself, but I just told him to hold it," said George. "Once I realized he was going to hold it for me, I just ran to the left of him, overlapped him and it was an easy goal."
The goal stunned the partisan crowd of 20,143, and even before the Cavaliers could attempt a comeback, George did it again. His second goal, and 16th of the season, came when he rebounded Yetso's save on a shot by Tennyson and knocked it into the right corner of the unguarded net.
Olsen, who scored twice in Virginia's 3-1 victory against Saint Louis in the semifinals, was hounded all day in the physical game. Olsen said the Bruins defended him fairly, but Gelnovatch wasn't so sure they had.
"UCLA did a great job at not quite a foul, but enough to either get you off the ball or enough to get you off balance," he said. "I certainly thought there were more fouls than were called."
The Bruins were whistled for 26 fouls, the Cavaliers only 12.
The championship is the third is six tries for UCLA, which also won in 1985 and 1990. It was the first loss in six title matches for Virginia.
For Virginia, the loss was another disappointment since the Final Four came to University of Richmond Stadium, about 75 miles from Charlottesville, in 1995. The Cavaliers had won four straight national titles, but they lost in the 1995 semifinals and didn't reach the Final Four last season.
"It's real tough when you go an hour away and almost have a home crowd," said Olsen, whose last chance to win a championship in Virginia will come next season. After that, the Final Four is moving to Charlotte, N.C.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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