Eder Arreola's second goal Sunday night couldn't have come at a better time.
The junior midfielder with extensive U.S. youth national team experience, tapped home from close range after a long throw-in just eight seconds before the end of overtime to lift UCLA past visiting Dartmouth, 2-1, and into the NCAA Division I men's quarterfinals.
The Bruins (15-4-1) will play Saturday at top-ranked Louisville (18-0-3), with the winner advancing to the College Cup final four Dec. 10 and 12 at UC Santa Barbara.
Arreola (Chino Hills/Chino Hills HS), whose blast to the upper-right corner gave the Bruins (16-4-1) a 26th-minute lead, had scored only once in the first 19 games of the season.
“It's unreal,” Arreola told UCLA's athletics website after a throw-in into the Dartmouth box by freshman Joe Sofia (Dove Canyon/Mission Viejo HS) was headed onto his path by a Big Green defender. “Words cannot describe this feeling right now. It's a dream come true. I've been waiting for this day when I could score at Drake Stadium, and today I was able to score for the team and help us get to the next round.”
Eight more seconds, and the game would have been decided on penalty kicks.
Arreola, who hit the left post with a shot in the 72nd minute, scored his first goal after a crisp series of passes from Reed Williams (Newport Beach/Corona del Mar HS) and Chandler Hoffman, but Dartmouth (12-7-1) pulled even through Northern California's Bryan Giudicelli in the 60th minute.
Pac-10 champion Cal also reached the elite eight, beating Brown, 2-0, as Davis Paul (Upland/Damien HS) crosses led to both goals -- the first by John Fitzpatrick, the second an own goal. The Bears (14-2-3) will play Saturday at No. 2 Akron (20-1-1).
Cal coach Kevin Grimes has a SoCal background, too. The St. Louis native played for the Fullerton-based L.A. Salsa and Orange County Zodiac in the 1990s and coached at Irvine High School and with the Mission Viejo Pateadores and San Juan youth soccer clubs.
NCAA third-round scores (home teams listed first):
Louisville 2, Ohio State 1
UCLA 2, Dartmouth 1, OT
SMU 1, William & Mary 0
North Carolina 1, Michigan State 1, OT (North Carolina advances on penalties, 5-4)
Akron 2, Indiana 1
California 2, Brown 0
South Carolina 1, Michigan 3
Maryland 2, Penn State 0