UCLA was on target for the NCAA Division I College Cup men's final four after twice taking two-goal leads Saturday night at top-ranked Louisville, but the Bruins' start was better than their finish in a cold, snowy quarterfinal clash.
The Cardinals (19-0-3) claimed their first final-four appearance with a wild 5-4 triumph captured on Aaron Hester's goal with just 52 seconds to play.
Louisville, which will face fourth-seeded North Carolina (16-3-2) on Friday at UC Santa Barbara's Harder Stadium, overcame 2-0 and 3-1 first-half deficits to end UCLA's run toward what it hoped would be a fifth NCAA soccer crown.
Eder Arreola (Chino Hills/Chino Hills HS) and Kellyn Rowe provided the Bruins (16-5-1) a two-goal advantage by the 18th minute, and Chandler Hoffman's breakaway in the 33rd restored the cushion after Colin Rolfe got Louisville on the board with a free kick in the 29th.
But the Cardinals surged ahead with three goals in 17 minutes: a penalty kick near the end of the first half, Rolfe's second goal -- a header from a free kick -- just three minutes into the second half, and Nick DeLeon's finish from Rolfe in the 56th.
Victor Chavez (Fontana/A.B. Miller HS) scored from a throw-in by Joe Sofia (Dove Canyon/Mission Viejo HS) to even it, 4-4, in the 81st minute, but Hester dribbled through UCLA's defense to score the winner in the 90th.
The other semifinal will pit third-seeded Akron (20-1-2) against 10th-seeded Michigan (17-4-3).
Akron topped Pac-10 champion Cal (14-2-4) on penalties following a 3-3 draw (John Fitzpatrick's goal with 1:31 to play pulled the Bears even and forced overtime), and Michigan stunned second-seeded Maryland, 3-2, on Brazilian freshman Fabio Pereira's overtime goal. Jeffrey Quijano (Canoga Park/Canoga Park HS) also scored for Michigan.
UCSD FALLS IN D2: Grand Valley State routed UC San Diego, 4-0, to win its second successive NCAA Division II women's title. The Lakers (22-1-2), from Allendale, Mich., built a 2-0 halftime lead on goals by Erin Mruz and Megan Brown, then finished off the Tritons (19-3-3) as Jaleen Dingledine scored in the 55th minute and Kayla Addison in the 78th.
UCSD was seeking its eighth NCAA women's soccer title. Grand Valley State beat Cal State Dominguez Hills in last year's final.
HOPE 7TH AT NCCAA: Former La Habra High School teammates Adrian La Farge (La Habra Heights) and Edgar Bran (La Habra) each scored and assisted goals as Fullerton's Hope International won the seventh-place men's game, beating Roberts Wesleyan of Rochester, N.Y., 5-3, at the National Christian College Athletic Association tournament in Kissimmee, Fla.
The Royals (10-11-1) also got goals from Jon Castro (Whittier/Whittier Christian HS), Perris Rowan and Jake Brown.
OTHER CHAMPS: These schools also won championships Saturday:
NCAA Division II men: Northern Kentucky (20-2-3), Highland Heights, Ky.
NCAA Division III men: Messiah (23-1-0), Grantham, Pa.
NCAA Division III women: Hardin-Simmons (24-0-1), Abilene, Texas
NAIA men: Hastings (25-0-0), Hastings, Neb.
NAIA women: Lee (22-2-1), Cleveland, Tenn.
NCCAA men: Palm Beach Atlantic (15-6-0), West Palm Beach, Fla.
NCCAA women: Spring Arbor (18-5-2), Spring Arbor, Mich.