Through about 84 minutes it looked as though UCLA were going to crash out of the 2021 NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament Friday, the No. 3 overall seed losing to Iowa, which had one NCAA Tournament win in their history all-time, but a late brace from Reilyn Turner saved the day, as UCLA won 2-1 in the 2nd Round and will continue on in the competition.
Meike Ingles opened the scoring for Iowa in the opening minutes of the game, the Hawkeyes pressing the Bruins hard and finding the score they wanted to absorb UCLA’s attack and look to hold on.
Although Aislynn Crowder had a good look in the first half that went just wide, UCLA went into the break down 1-0, and alarm bells were not yet really ringing.
That changed in the 2nd half, with Iowa’s intensity causing UCLA some fits and the Bruins struggling to show why they were so dominant in the Pac-12 season. Even with head coach Amanda Cromwell making changes in her lineup, the spark didn’t seem like it was coming, and hearts were in mouths as it looked like UCLA were on the verge of being upset.
But Turner, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, found a moment of luck with five minutes to play, to tie up the game. Her shot was hit right at Iowa goalkeeper Macy Enneking, who had had a good game up to that point, but the shot trickled through the GK’s hands and went into the back of the net.
And Turner hit the winner in the final minute of regulation, her one-timer making no mistake as UCLA grabbed the vital 2-1 lead.
To say this game should be a wake-up call for UCLA would be an understatement. Iowa struggled badly in their Big Ten season, only got to the NCAA Tournament from their Big Ten Tourney run, and they put UCLA, who have national title aspirations, on the ropes. But all’s well that ends well for the Bruins, who indeed move on and will play the winner of the Rutgers-Clemson clash on Wednesday.