UCLA Women's Soccer: The #3 Bruins Welcome the #20 Oregon Ducks to Westwood
Oregon beat the defending National Champions in Eugene last weekend, but can the Ducks build upon that success on the road against UCLA?
After defeating the Arizona Wildcats on the road last Friday, its first win in Tucson since 2014, the #3 UCLA women’s soccer team (4-0-0, 1-0-0) continues Pac-12 play today at Wallis Annenberg Stadium versus the #20 Oregon Ducks (2-1-1, 1-0-0). Kickoff is at 5:30 pm PT.
After their road win, the Bruins rose in the United Soccer Coaches’ rankings from #4 to #3. UCLA may not rise higher in the regular season as the two teams ahead of the Bruins, Florida State and North Carolina, went 11-0-0 and 11-1-0, respectively, in their fall seasons.
Last Time Out
Last Friday night, UCLA exorcised some demons by beating the Arizona Wildcats in the desert for the first time in over six years. Further, last season which was a highly successful one in which UCLA made the Women’s College Cup, UCLA suffered its worst loss of the season to Arizona, falling 3-0. The Bruins and ‘Cats came into last week’s game with identical 4-0-0 records. So, UCLA’s 2-1 victory must have been a very satisfying one for the squad and head coach Amanda Cromwell.
The Bruins broke the dam first when, in the 19th minute, senior midfielder Delanie Sheehan found the back of the net after dribbling through the heart of the Wildcat defense. An attempted Arizona clearance caromed of Sheehan’s chest and, after a bounce, Sheehan slotted the ball past the Wildcat ‘keeper Hope Hisey, with a half-volley off her right foot.
The Wildcats quickly equalized less than two minutes later when Jill Aguilera drew three Bruin defenders to her and found an unmarked Madison Goerlinger running to the top of the Bruins’ penalty area. Goerlinger cleanly beat UCLA goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy with a right-footed shot to the left corner of the goal.
The Bruins would regain a lead they would never relinquish in the 27th minute as sophomore Mia Fishel made the Wildcats pay for their inability to clear a cross from the right side of the pitch. After one defender mistimed her header to clear the ball, and the other couldn’t control it as it unexpectedly landed at her feet, Fishel hustled to the loose ball and side-footed it home with her left boot.
Fishel’s goal would hold up to be the game winner as neither team would score in the final 63 minutes. It was a deserved win for the Bruins; they outshot the Wildcats 17 to 9 (9 to 4 on frame).
The Ducks come to Westwood with a very interesting resume. Although Oregon is ranked #20 in the nation, the most recent rankings do not appear to take into consideration the Ducks’ Sunday 1-0 loss to UC Berkeley in Eugene, which was considered to be a non-conference game.
What the ranking does take into account is Oregon’s prior game, a 2-1 win over the defending National Champion Stanford Cardinal, which is considered to be a Pac-12 conference game. Don’t let the 2-1 score fool you; Stanford’s lone goal was scored with one second left in the contest so it wasn’t as close as the score made it out to be.
The Ducks’ draw occurred in its only road game of the season so far at Sacramento State, 1-1, and the Hornets are hardly a women’s soccer juggernaut. So, it is tough to get a read on this squad.
Oregon has only scored four goals, two of them by sophomore forward Ally Cook, the second of which was the game-winner against Stanford. Oregon’s other goal scorers are sophomore midfielder Zoe Hasenauer, and senior forward Eden Hardy. Hasenauer also has an assist.
Freshman goalkeeper Leah Freeman has played every minute of every game for the Ducks. She’s allowed three goals, made 14 saves, and has one clean sheet to her name, Oregon’s 1-0 win over Gonzaga.
Which Oregon team will we see today? The one that beat the defending champions at home? Or the one that lost to UC Berkeley at home and tied Sac State on the road? My money is on the latter.
I am not sure that the Cardinal are going to be the force they have been in the last several years. Not only did Stanford lose to the Ducks, but they also fell to the Oregon State Beavers, a team that has lost to Portland and UC Berkeley so far this season. So maybe that Stanford win is not all that it is cracked up to be.
UCLA has scored ten goals this season and only allowed two. Oregon has scored four goals this season and allowed three.
Add all of this up and it is reasonable to conclude that UCLA wins today’s game. My score prediction is 3-0, Bruins.
#3 UCLA Women’s Soccer (4-0-0)
Opponent: #20 Oregon Ducks (2-1-1)
Game Time: 5:30 pm PT, Friday, March 5, 2021
Where: Wallis Annenberg Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Live TV/Stream: None
Audio: uclabruins.com with Christian Miles
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
This is your UCLA Women’s soccer versus Oregon Ducks game thread.