The UCLA Women’s Soccer team (7-3-1) takes the field this evening against the Colorado Buffaloes in the first of a women’s and men’s double header at Wallis Annenberg Stadium. The women kick-off at 5 p.m. and the game is televised on the PAC 12 Network, as well as PAC 12 Los Angeles and PAC 12 Mountain.
LAST TIME OUT
On Sunday, UCLA notched its first win in conference play (after two losses), beating Arizona State in Tempe by the score of 4-1. Viviana Villacorta started the Bruins off right in the second minute with her first goal of the season. UCLA would pot two more goals in the first half, one by Kennedy Faulknor and one by Karina Rodriguez, to lead at the half, 3-0.
Ashley Sanchez would extend the UCLA lead to 4-0 with her fourth goal of the season in the 50th minute, although the Bruins would concede one four minutes later, resulting in the final 4-1 scoreline. The Bruins were without star midfielder Jessie Fleming, as well as Rachel Lowe and goalkeeper Tegan Micah, for both games last week, due to international duty. All three return for tonight’s clash with Colorado.
Colorado will be a tough game tonight. The Buffs have only lost two games this season, a 3-2 overtime loss to #6 Florida State in Tallahassee and a 2-1 loss to Oregon State at home last Sunday. Despite their nine wins, Colorado is not ranked in the top 25, but is 4th in “others receiving votes.”
Colorado returns six seniors from a squad that was undefeated and looked to make the postseason in 2018, but the bottom fell out as the Buffs lost their last four games (three of which were to #1 Stanford, UCLA, and Southern Cal). Simply Even with those losses, Colorado was hard done by not making the post-season in ‘18 with a 13-4-3 record.
This year’s iteration of Colorado women’s soccer relies on a mix of old and new players, with the aforementioned six seniors joined by nine freshman, several of whom have already made an impact. Senior Taylor Kornieck leads the team in goals and assists with nine and five, respectively, while freshman Tessa Barton has scored four goals and recorded two assists.
Senior Jalen Tompkins has played every minute of every game in goal for Colorado, and has records six clean sheets. She has, however, allowed two goals in each of the last two games, both in Boulder, a tie versus Oregon and the aforementioned loss versus Oregon State.
The return of Fleming, Lowe, and Micah should boost the Bruins tonight, as well as what should be a vibrant home crowd for the double-header (the men play at 8 p.m. PT, versus #7 Stanford). I predict that the Bruins will score two more goals against Tompkins, but will only allow one, and therefore will prevail, 2-1.