This 40th minute goal from Seattle University senior Hamza Haddadi was all the Redhawks needed to advance to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Men's Soccer tournament. Haddadi, a local product from Shorewood High School, had just returned from an injury that kept him out for eight matches.
The goal was representative of the hustle Haddadi brought throughout the game. Haddadi ran onto a long ball from Nick Prasad and got to it just before UCLA keeper Juan Cervantes at the top of the box. He was able to push it around Cervantes with the outside of his foot, and the ball rolled into the goal.
With that goal, the Redhawks (18-3-1), who are tied with Creighton for the most Division 1 wins this season, advanced to face sixth-seeded Syracuse (14-5-3) on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. PT. Syracuse, who will host the match, came from behind to defeat Dartmouth 2-1 on Sunday.
It was a tale of two halves for the Redhawks. After Haddadi's goal, Seattle U finished the half in control of the game and with an 8-to-5 shot advantage. Sophomore forward David Olsen, who leads the team with 15 goals for the season, had a number of good looks on goal and nearly made it 2-0 before the end of the first half.
UCLA put the pressure on the Redhawks for most of the second half, outshooting the Redhawks 10-4. That includes two back-to-back shots in the 65th minute, the first of which senior goalkeeper Shane Haworth saved, while the second barely made it over the goal. The final 10 minutes got chippy, and Haddadi was all over the field serving as a constant frustration for the Bruins. I expect to see him in the pros in the very near future.
It was a nail-biter until the very end, but Seattle University, thanks to six saves by Haworth, finished with a shutout and the 1-0 victory. Sounders Academy product Seyi Adekoya, who had a standout year at UCLA, rarely got the ball in dangerous positions. He finished with just two shots, neither of which were on frame.
Seattle U coach Pete Fewing was thrilled with his team's defensive performance and excited for the next challenge. "A win against a marquee program like this gives us confidence for sure but we're not going to overlook any of our opponents. We're excited to go to New York next weekend," Coach Fewing said.
The win gave the Redhawks, the 11-seed in this year's tournament, a lot of firsts: the first time they've advanced to the Third Round in Division I history and their first-ever win over UCLA. The Redhawks now face Syracuse at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. The match will be streamed live here.