No. 1 UCLA extends perfect start to season with 9th straight win as Bruins beat Cal, 4-2
LOS ANGELES – Top-ranked UCLA remains the only NCAA Division I women’s soccer team in the nation with a perfect record, improving to 9-0-0 after a 4-2 victory over California in front of a sold-out Wallis Annenberg Crowd of 2,237.
After the Golden Bears (5-2-3) struck first with a 21st minute goal, the Bruins scored three unanswered goals. two by Maricarmen Reyes, to move ahead 3-1. A Cal penalty kick trimmed the Bruins’ lead to 3-2, but freshman Bridgette Marin-Valencia’s 83rd minute goal provided extra insurance for UCLA, who is unbeaten in its last 17 conference games.
The Bruins found themselves trailing in the game for just the second time this season after Noelle Bond-Flasza found Karlie Lema alone on the right side. Lema fired a hard shot above Brzykcy to the top of the net for the game’s first goal at 20:46.
UCLA was unfazed, however. Not even three minutes later, the Bruins utilized their passing skills to perfection to equalize. Off a Quincy McMahon feed, Madelyn Desiano dribbled into the box and then sent a diagonal pass back to Reyes, who one-timed it past California goalkeeper Angelina Anderson for the equalizer at 23:37. Eight minutes later, Reyes struck again for the go-ahead goal. After a free kick was headed out of the box, Sofia Cook collected the ball and passed to Reyes, who once again one-timed her shot through traffic and into the back of the net for her second goal of the game at 31:33.
The Bruins increased their lead to 3-1 in the second half after Reilyn Turner stole a pass just beyond Cal’s box. She fed Ally Cook at the top of the box, and Cook deftly put a move on her defender to get a far post shot past Anderson to score her second goal of the season at the 57:42 mark.
The Bears cut into UCLA’s lead in the 61st minute when Keely Roy converted a penalty kick after Quincy McMahon was whistled for a foul in the box. UCLA was awarded a penalty kick of its own in the 64th minute, but Reyes’ shot was saved by Anderson. The California goalkeeper made another big save in the 70th minute, stopping Turner in front of goal.
With the Bruins clinging to the one-goal lead, a relentless effort by Marin-Valencia at 82:32 sealed the victory, as she followed up Ally Cook’s header that rimmed the crossbar. Marin-Valencia challenged two Cal defenders for the rebound and got a foot on it. Just as it looked like the ball might get swept off the line, Marin-Valencia picked herself up and came charging in to bang it into the back of the net for her first collegiate goal.
UCLA outshot Cal in the game 20-6 and had 10 shots on goal to the Bears’ three. Brzykcy was forced into just one easy save in the first half. Anderson had six for the Bears.
The Bruins will resume Pac-12 play on Thursday, Sept. 29 at Oregon.