UCLA Women's Soccer: #3 Bruins Bounce to Boulder to Battle Buffs
Coming off a split on the road versus the Bay Area schools, Colorado hosts UCLA in its first home Pac-12 contest.
After a tougher than expected overtime win against Oregon State on Sunday, the #3 UCLA women’s soccer team (6-0-0, 3-0-0) heads to the Rockies to face the Pac-12 mountain schools. First up is Colorado (4-2-1, 1-1-1) with an early game today in Boulder. Kick-off is at 11 am PT. It’s also the first game available on the new Pac-12 Insider free streaming service. So, even if you don’t have Pac-12 Networks, you can stream today’s game.
Last Time Out
Last Sunday, UCLA hosted the Oregon State Beavers at Wallis Annenberg Stadium. Fresh off a 3-0 home win over the Oregon Ducks, all signs pointed toward the #3 Bruins dominating the Beavers.
It didn’t quite work out that way. OSU pushed UCLA like no other team has done so far this season, forcing overtime, before ultimately falling on a golden goal penalty kick in the 100th minute.
The Bruins got on the board first, just before the halftime break, with Mia Fishel scoring her fourth goal of the season. Fishel headed home a corner kick from Marley Canales inside the far post.
Oregon State would equalize in a similar fashion in the 67th minute, with tall defender Sydney Studer heading home a ball that started off with a corner kick. Studer’s goal was a “second ball,” as the corner kick first found the head of another Beaver, who popped the ball up right in front of goal level with the six-yard box, allowing Studer to rise above the crowd and head the ball into the back of the net.
Neither team scored during the remainder of regulation, triggering overtime, which, in college soccer, consists of two fifteen-minute halves with the “golden goal” rule in effect, meaning whoever scores first is the winner. If no team scores in the 30 minutes of overtime, the game ends in a draw.
There would be no draw.
Ten minutes into the first overtime, Fishel drew a clear foul in the penalty area from the goal-scorer Studer. Marley Canales took the penalty kick and neatly tucked it inside the left post to give UCLA the dramatic overtime win, raising its record to 6-0-0.
After going unbeaten and shutting out the likes of Denver, Northern Colorado, and Weber State in non-conference play, the Buffaloes have had a mixed bag of performances against Pac-12 competition. They played Washington twice in Seattle, one a conference game and one a non-conference game, and recorded a 0-0 draw in conference and a 2-1 loss in the non-conference game. Last weekend, on the road against the Bay Area schools, Colorado upset #10 UC Berkeley 2-1 and fell to #23 Stanford 2-1 on a goal in the 88th minute.
The contest against UCLA will be Colorado’s first conference game of the season in Boulder where they are 3-0.
In their seven games, Colorado has only scored nine goals, but they have only given up five scores. Leading the team with four goals is former UCLA player Hannah Sharts who transferred to Colorado after the 2018 season. Sharts is a defender. So, it is curious that she leads the team in scoring. Freshman forward Shyra James also has two goals. Freshman defender Lawson Willis leads the squad with four assists. All of these statistics beg the question: what is Colorado’s midfield doing?
Redshirt sophomore Dani Hansen has played in every game except the one against Northern Colorado. Expect her to start versus the Bruins. Hansen has made 42 saves, double the amount of saves made by UCLA’s Lauren Brzykcy, which means that the Colorado defense has allowed opponents a lot of shots on goal. Hansen has only allowed five goals, resulting in a ridiculously good .894 save percentage, and she has three clean sheets to her name.
Colorado is unbeaten at home, but none of those wins came against teams even close to UCLA’s talent level. The Buffs allow plenty of shots, but Hansen has been up to the task of keeping the ball out of the net, by and large.
Nevertheless, this is a game that UCLA should win but, as UC Berkeley will tell you, you cannot sleep on Colorado. If UCLA comes out and plays its game, it should win in a tight contest. If UCLA has even a little bit of a letdown, like the match against Oregon State, the Bruins could be susceptible to the upset. Also, an 11 am PT kickoff does nothing to help UCLA, whose body clocks might not be adjusted to the early start. Still, I predict that the Bruins win in a tight, 1-0 contest with Hansen singlehandedly keeping Colorado in the game with double digit saves.
#3 UCLA Women’s Soccer (6-0-0)
Opponent: Colorado Buffaloes (4-2-1)
Game Time: 11:00 am PT, Friday, March 12, 2021
Where: Prentup Field, Boulder, CO
Live TV/Stream: Pac-12 Insider, Pac-12.com, and the Pac-12 Now app
Live Audio: None
Live Stats: Colorado SideArmStats
This is your UCLA women’s soccer versus Colorado Buffaloes game thread.