Los Angeles Soccer: Valerine Strawn
Chandler Hoffman's first collegiate hat trick couldn't have come at a more opportune time.
The junior forward from Alabama netted three goals in 20 minutes of the second half Friday night, carrying UCLA to a 3-2 triumph over No. 6 UC Santa Barbara in a nonconference showdown between big-time soccer rivals that drew 2,965 to the Bruins' Drake Stadium.
UCLA (3-2-1), which is ranked by Soccer America but is not in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America top 25, overcame a first-half deficit as Chandler scored in the 52nd, 68th and 71st minutes, the first two off assists by All-American Kelyn Rowe.
Hoffman, who has seven goals in the Bruins' first six games (after scoring 13 in 13 Premier Development League appearances for Orange County Blue Star this summer), tied a school record by tallying in his fifth successive game.
“It's been really good to find the back of the net,” Hoffman said in a video posted on UCLA's athletics web site. “My parents were here tonight, so it's always fun to score when they're here. It's always fun to beat UCSB.”
James Kiffe gave the Gauchos (4-1-1) a 35th-minute lead, but UCLA -- with Rowe and Ryan Hollingshead making the difference in midfield -- took command early in the second half. Sam Garza converted a 73rd-minute penalty to cut the deficit to a goal, but Santa Barbara couldn't create chances for an equalizer.