UCLA beats Alabama 3-0 to advance to 2022 College Cup Final
CARY, N.C. – The UCLA women’s soccer team advanced to the College Cup final for the sixth time in program history after downing Alabama by a score of 3-0 on Friday night in a battle of No. 1 seeds at WakeMed Soccer Park.
The Bruins (21-2-1) will now face North Carolina in the title game, scheduled for 3:00 p.m. PT on Monday (6:00 p.m. ET). UNC advanced to the final after defeating Florida State, 3-2, in the Semifinals.
Sophomore left back Quincy McMahon led the Bruins on Friday, setting up junior forward Reilyn Turner’s game-winner in the 30th minute and adding a goal of her own in the second half. Graduate right back Madelyn Desiano found the back of the net just 66 seconds after McMahon to complete the game’s scoring.
Gradate goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy stopped all seven goal-bound shots she faced en route to her ninth solo shutout of the campaign.
UCLA will be appearing in the College Cup final for the first time since 2017. It marks the second time that the Bruins and Tar Heels will face off for a National Championship. UCLA previously downed North Carolina in Chapel Hill, 2-1, on Sept. 4 of this season.
Turner opened the game’s scoring in the 30th minute with a deft re-direct of a McMahon pass. McMahon set up the play, approaching the box from the top left corner, dribbling all the way to the endline, and drawing a trio of defenders towards her before finding a seam and sneaking in a cross to Turner inside the six-yard box. Turner tapped it in with a left-footed shot to notch her 10th goal of the year.
The score from Turner was a huge momentum swing for the Bruins, as Alabama (23-3-1) though it had scored just three minutes prior on a diving header that was ultimately whistled offside. UCLA’s first Grade-A opportunity of the opening half came from sophomore forward Lexi Wright, who got played into a 1v1 with the keeper but had a pair of in-close opportunities pushed aside by Alabama’s McKinkley Crone.
UCLA came out flying after the halftime break, dominating possession and creating a number of dangerous scoring opportunities within the first 10 minutes of the second stanza.
Graduate midfielder Maricarmen Reyes set up the first look, finding Turner with a brilliantly-placed pass to create a breakaway that was stopped by Crone in the 49th.
The Bruins wouldn’t be denied however, scoring a pair of goals within the ensuing five minutes.
McMahon netted the first of those goals in the 52nd, winning a 50-50 ball at the top corner of the box before dribbling laterally and taking a shot from the edge of the 18, just below the penalty arc. Her drive took a deflection off an Alabama defender and curled in ground-level just inside the far post. The unassisted goal gave her her first-career three-point game.
A brilliant solo effort from Desiano just over a minute later put the game on ice. Tracking down a loose ball in midfield, Desiano proceeded towards goal down the right side of the field. She cut inside once she reached the 18, and a uncorked a left-footed shot from just inside the 18 that got past the Alabama keeper and hit the upper left corner of the net. It was the second-career goal for Desiano, who was making her first-ever College Cup appearance after sitting out the 2019 tournament due to injury.
Nursing a three-goal lead, the Bruins were able to hold off the Crimson Tide the rest of the way. Alabama’s best chance to score in the final half-hour came on a late flurry of shot’s in the game’s final minute, requiring a pair of saves from Brzycky.
For the game, UCLA outshot Alabama by a margin of 20-11. The Bruins put 11 attempts on frame, compared to just seven for the Crimson Tide. Alabama was playing its first-ever College Cup game.