The #18 ranked UCLA Women’s Soccer team (9-4-1, 3-3 Pac-12) welcomes the Washington Huskies (9-3-2, 5-1 Pac-12) to Wallis Annenberg Stadium tonight as the second part of a doubleheader between the Bruins’ and Huskies’ men’s and women’s soccer teams. The women will kick-off at 8 pm PT, approximately an hour after the men’s game ends. Both games will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks National, Los Angeles, and Washington.
This should be an interesting match-up and, if I am being honest, one that, IMO, UCLA should win. Both teams have similar records. They have the same amount of wins, while U-Dub has tied one more game and lost one less game than the Bruins. Further, UCLA is ranked while the Huskies aren’t, although they are receiving votes, and Washington leads the Bruins by two games in the Pac-12 standings.
Last Time Out
UCLA had its work cut out for it in its last game, a Saturday contest in Palo Alto. The Cardinal, who are undefeated and untied in Pac-12 play and ranked #2 in the nation with the top RPI, scored in the 18th minute and that was all they would need, seeing out the remainder of the game without conceding a goal to prevail 1-0.
Stanford got the better of the Bruins in the first half, outshooting them 7-2. UCLA goalkeeper Teagan Micah made a pair of stellar saves to keep the scoreline at 1-0.
The Bruins made a strong effort to get back in the game in the second half, with both teams recording seven shots. Mia Fishel had two unsuccessful chances to bring the Bruins level in the 68th minute and Ashley Sanchez made a valiant effort to try to force overtime in the 87th minute, but sent shot over the bar.
The Huskies’ three losses this season have been to North Carolina in Seattle, Stanford in Palo Alto, and Texas in Austin. There is no shame in any of those losses.
U-Dub is hot, having won three straight and seven of its last eight games, with only the loss to Stanford mixed in. This team is a long way from the one that only managed back-to-back scoreless draws versus Portland and Seattle to start the season in August.
Washington has scored 21 goals this season while only allowing 15 with sophomore forward Summer Yates leading the squad with six goals and five assists. Senior forward Kennedy Smith has also netted four goals on the season. So, UCLA needs to keep an eye of her as well.
Senior goalkeeper Sienna Ruelas and sophomore ‘keeper Dani Hansen have split goalkeeping duties this season, a practice that is not uncommon in the college game when a senior is preparing to leave the program and a successor must be groomed. Ruelas has started eight games, allowing nine goals and making 26 saves. The Huskies are 7-1 in those games. Hansen has started six games, has a 2-2-2 record, and has allowed six goals while making 17 saves. The respective save percentages of the two are virtually identical: 0.743 for Ruelas and 0.739 for Hansen. So, your guess is as good as mine who will start in goal for the Huskies tonight.
I feel like the Bruins are going to come out strong and bounce back after their tough loss to a great Stanford team last Saturday. I predict that UCLA will get the better of U-Dub, and prevail 2-1 with goals by Mia Fishel and Kennedy Faulkner.