After a comfortable, 3-0 win against over-matched Iowa State in the season opener at home on Friday night, the UCLA Women’s soccer team now (1-0-0) heads down the coast for a battle against the Long Beach State 49ers (0-0-0).
On Friday night, the Bruins got a goal from star junior forward Ashley Sanchez to open the scoring in the 33rd minute, another from freshman Rachel Lowe in the 58th minute, and a third from another freshman, Mia Fishel, just 12 seconds before the final whistle. It is great that the talented freshmen are making a difference for the Bruins right out of the gate.
Today’s game will be Long Beach State’s first regular season game of 2019. A scheduled game last Thursday night versus Arizona in Tucson was cancelled due to persistent lightning strikes in the area.
Last Time Out
Friday night’s home opener of the 2019 season at Wallis Annenberg Stadium resulted in a comfortable 3-0 win over an opponent that was far inferior to the Bruins. The game was workmanlike, not spectacular, as UCLA only managed eleven shots (eight on target) while Iowa State had only three shots (one on target), all in the first half.
UCLA’s top scorer from last season, Sanchez, started things off in the 33rd minute, with a nice move on the ball to create space for her right-footed rocket of a shot. Long Beach’s goalkeeper, Dayja Schwichtenberg, got a big piece of the ball, and arguably should have made the save, but could not keep it out of the goal. Here is Sanchez’s goal, the 17th of her career (all videos courtesy of the PAC 12 Network):
.@ashleynsanchezz kept her streak alive.— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) August 24, 2019
She extended her point-scoring streak to 1️⃣4️⃣ games with her 1️⃣7️⃣th career goal.
With @UCLAWSoccer's first regular-season goal of 2019, she earned the @OpusBank #12Best moment. pic.twitter.com/VboTno1fEr
The half ended 1-0, with UCLA out-shooting ISU, 8-3. The Cyclones would not record any more shots against the Bruins after the break.
Bruins extended their lead 13 minutes into the second half, on a cheeky redirection by the freshman, Lowe, to the back post on a beautiful cross from Ashley Sanchez.
Congratulations to Lowe on scoring her first collegiate goal and kudos on the very clinical finish!
After UCLA appeared content to see out the game, freshman Mia Fishel broke through yet again for the Bruins in the 90th minute on a well-placed ball into the top left corner of the ISU goal, seconds before “the death,” resulting in the final 3-0 margin.
Congratulations to Mia, opening her UCLA account in her first game in a Bruin kit!
UCLA’s senior goalkeeper and Australian international, Teagan Micah, made one save on the night, but it was her 200th save in a Bruins uniform. Micah also became the first woman to start in goal for the Bruins in four season-opening games. Well, done, Teagan!
Lowe’s goal was pretty darn sweet, but the other two tallies might not have been goals against the top keepers in the PAC 12, let alone the nation. The Bruins’ win can best be described as comfortable, not spectacular.
Now, on just two days’ rest, UCLA faces Long Beach on the road.
Long Beach State
Long Beach State returns 14 letter-winners from its 2018 squad, one that went 12-6-3, and made it to the NCAA Tournament, where it was embarrassed by Southern Cal, 5-0, in the first round.
The Beach lost their two top scorers from ‘18, Ashley Gonzalez and Dan Fujikuni, who combined for 13 goals and six assists. Their third best scorer, junior midfielder/forward Katie Pingel, who had four goals and three assists last season, does return. She had a goal in LBSU’s preseason game against FC Golden State, a 3-0 win. So did junior Nadiyah Siqueiros and sophomore Elysia Laramie, both of whom will be looked to by Long Beach in order to pick up the slack with the departures of Gonzalez and Fujikuni.
Another question mark for The Beach is at the goalkeeper position, as Imani McDonald, who started 20 games last season, has departed. LBSU has four ‘keepers on their roster, but only one has college experience, sophomore Ashley Seymour, who only appeared in two games in her career. All four goalkeepers played in LBSU’s preseason game, so who knows who will appear in net for the 49ers when they square off against the Bruins today.
UCLA faces an better opponent than on Friday night, and also faces that opponent on the road. Nevertheless, the Bruins are the more talented squad and I expect another “comfortable” victory by the Bruins; I am calling a final score of 2-0, Bruins.