UCLA Women's Soccer: Beat $C! Beat $C! Undefeated #3 UCLA Faces #12 Southern Cal in the Crosstown Showdown
This is the first of two contests between the squads this season, with tonight considered to be a non-conference game.
Beat $c! Beat $c!
Tonight, the #3 UCLA women’s soccer team (8-0-0, 5-0-0 Pac-12) returns to Wallis Annenberg Stadium to face the #12 Southern Cal Trojans in a non-conference match-up. Kick-off is at 7 pm PT. The two teams will play again in mid-April at the Coliseum, in a Pac-12 battle to end the regular season.
Last Time Out
Last Sunday, the Bruins completed a successful mountain road trip by defeating the Utah Utes, 2-0. The Bruins did not allow a goal in the mountain time zone, also prevailing versus Colorado 1-0.
Against the Utes, it took the Bruins a while to get going, as neither team grabbed ahold of the game in the first 30 minutes. UCLA would finally break through, however, in the 33rd minute when freshman forward Kaila Novak struck a beautiful ball from the left flank into the center of the field at the top of the penalty area. As the ball rolled into the upper-right side of the box, fellow freshman Reilyn Turner ran onto it and struck a sliding right footed shot that beat Ute ‘keeper Chelsea Peterson and put the Bruins up 1-0. UCLA only had four shots in the first half to Utah’s two.
The game opened up a bit in the second half and the Bruins would score again in the 63rd minute on another goal by Turner, giving her a double on the day. This time, freshman forward Sunshine Fontes hit a cross near the end line well past the far post. The cross was an inch perfect one to the near post, where Turner headed the ball into the ball of the net. The Bruins looked more dangerous in the second half, with eight shots to Utah’s three.
What a day for the freshmen it was! All the goals and assists against Utah were recorded by UCLA freshmen. Head Coach Amanda Cromwell is really structuring this program well, and the Bruins are getting meaningful contributions from upper and underclassmen too.
Speaking of upperclassmen, senior Karina Rodriguez earned the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week award for her contributions to the clean sheets versus the mountain schools.
Southern Cal Trojans
So far, it has been a bit of a disappointing season for Southern Cal. The Trojans and Bruins have five common opponents: BYU at home, the Oregon schools at home, and the mountain schools on the road. While UCLA is 5-0-0 in those games, the Trojans are 3-2-0 against the same opponents with both losses coming last week against Utah and Colorado. Southern Cal’s 3-3-0 record is backed up by the statistics: the Trojans have scored nine goals and conceded nine goals. In comparison, UCLA has scored 18 and only conceded three.
Nevertheless, Southern Cal is still ranked #12 in the national and has a lot of talent. Junior forward Penelope Hocking and senior forward Tara McKeown have combined to score seven of those nine goals with four and three goals, respectively. If the Bruins can keep those two off the scoresheet, they should win.
Trojan goalkeepers Kaylie Collins and Anna Smith have each started three games. In Pac-12 play, each goalkeeper played a half in the Arizona State game and the games against the Oregon schools. Collins played the whole game in the overtime loss to Colorado, while Smith played the entire match in the loss to Utah. It really is a toss-up as to who will start versus the Bruins tonight and if that player will go the distance.
Personally, I think the GK position is like a quarterback in American football. You need to pick one and stick with her, only going with the backup for the purposes of resting the starter from time to time. The only exception is if one is pulled because of poor performance (like at QB in American football or a hockey goalkeeper). So, to say the least, I am not a fan of Southern Cal’s goalkeeper by committee approach.
UCLA has won four straight against the Trojans, who are also on a two-game losing streak. This is a rivalry game, though, and I expect the Trojans to give it their all.
Still, UCLA appears to be the superior squad, both offensively and defensively. I do think Southern Cal will find the back of the net once, but the Bruins will score twice and prevail by the score of 2-1.
#3 UCLA Women’s Soccer (8-0-0)
Opponent: #12 Southern Cal Trojans (3-3-0)
Game Time: 7:00 pm PT, Thursday, March 18, 2021
Where: Wallis Annenberg Stadium
Live TV: Pac-12 Networks National and Los Angeles with Anne Marie Anderson and Tammy Blackburn
Live Stream: Pac-12.com and the Pac-12 Now app
Live Audio: uclabruins.com
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
This is your UCLA women’s soccer versus Southern Cal Trojans game thread.
Go Bruins! Beat $c!