UCLA Women's Soccer: #5 Bruins Host #21 Washington State Cougars
The Bruins will look to bounce back from their first loss of the season last Friday night after Arizona State came from behind to win in overtime.
The #5 UCLA women’s soccer team (8-1-1, 5-1-1) welcomes the #21 Washington State Cougars (5-1-1, 1-0-1) to Wallis Annenberg Stadium tonight for a top 25 battle on the Bruins’ home pitch. Kickoff is at 6 pm PT.
UCLA will look snap a two-game winless streak, consisting of a 2-2 draw to Southern Cal and a 2-1 loss to Arizona State. Washington State, after having four conference games cancelled due to COVID-19, has since won a game versus Colorado and lost a game to Washington after missing almost three weeks of the season. The Cougars’ cancelled games included the Arizona schools on the road and the Bay Area schools at home.
Last Time Out
Last Friday night, UCLA suffered its first loss of the season in a somewhat brutal fashion. The Bruins got on the board first with a Kaila Novak goal in the 18th minute. But the Bruins were unable to get another tally and, slowly, the momentum turned to the Sun Devils, who out-shot UCLA in the second half, six to four.
ASU finally broke through in the 83rd minute for the equalizer. It was a fluky goal to say the least. An ASU cross deflected off a UCLA defender and, then, deflected off the post into the net.
Now level at 1-1, the Bruins had little time to try to regroup and get the game winner before Kennedy Faulknor was shown a straight red card 18 seconds after the tying goal. Faulknor unnecessarily made a cynical challenge while the Bruins were attacking. A red card while “last gasp” defending to try to prevent a chance is one thing; a red card in your own attacking third constitutes a mental lapse.
Although the Sun Devils could not find the back of the net during regulation with UCLA down to ten women, Cori Sullivan scored the game-ending golden goal for Arizona State in the 99th minute.
It was the first time ASU beat UCLA since 2000 and only the second time UCLA has lost to the Sun Devils in program history. Ouch.
Washington State Cougars
Washington State is coming off a program-defining dream season in 2019, one in which the Cougars, like the Bruins, made it all the way to the College Cup. In women’s soccer’s Final Four, WSU lost 2-1 to the eventual runner up, North Carolina.
The Cougars return several players from that squad, although there were some key departures. Senior midfielder Makamae Gomera-Stevens, who was drafted in the NWSL draft, returns and has chipped in three goals and one assist on the season. Senior forward, Elyse Bennett, however, leads the team in scoring, with five goals and an assist. It will be key for UCLA to limit those two as best as possible.
Senior goalkeeper Marissa Zucchetto is a transfer from Texas Tech, who led the nation in clean sheets in her sophomore year. Zucchetto has played every minute of every game this season for Wazzu, has only allowed four goals in seven games, and has recorded four clean sheets.
Washington State’s best win was their last game, a 1-0 overtime victory at home over Colorado. Their only loss was to #23 Washington in Seattle, although a 0-0 home draw to Utah was probably a worse result than the loss to the more talented Huskies on the road. The Cougars made up for that Utah draw by beating the Utes at home, 2-0, two days later.
UCLA has five games left in the regular season, four of which are against ranked teams. It is put up or shut up time. Washington State could definitely beat UCLA, but I think that the Bruins shake off the mild slump they are in and get back to their winning ways this evening. My prediction: UCLA 2, Wazzu 1.
This is your UCLA women’s soccer versus Washington State game thread.
#5 UCLA Women’s Soccer (8-1-1, 5-1-1)
Opponent: #21 Washington State (5-1-1, 1-0-1)
Game Time: 6:00 pm PT, Friday, April 2, 2021
Where: Wallis Annenberg Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Live TV: Pac-12 Network Washington
Live Stream: Pac-12.com and the Pac-12 Now app
Live Audio: uclabruins.com
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
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