This is the calm before the storm.
No. 2 UCLA women’s soccer (12-0-2, 5-0-1 Pac-12) has two bouts before its primetime matchup against No. 1 Stanford. Though two opponents this week may not prove to be as formidable as the top team in the nation, they still are still dangerous.
Washington State (7-5-2, 2-4) has sat in the cellar of the Pac-12 in previous years, compiling a subpar record since 2010. The date with the Cougars on Thursday acts as a legitimate trap game.
The Bruins have the advantage on paper. But the last time coach Amanda Cromwell and company faced a seemingly facile road matchup, they came away with a draw.
Washington State was resilient against UCLA last year. The Bruins escaped with a 2-1 victory after a game-winning goal from former captain Annie Alvarado in the 77th minute.
The Cougars rank in the middle of the pack in several categories in the Pac-12 – six in goals per game and eighth in assists. Their biggest threats offensively are their attacking duo of Morgan Weaver and Maddy Haro. The two have combined for half of the team’s goals overall.
UCLA will have an opportunity to notch back-to-back wins, as they vanquished Utah (5-7-2, 0-5-1) last week 2-1. The Utes silenced Hailie Mace, who had scored in the previous two games. But they couldn’t keep the Bruins off the board for the majority of the afternoon.
The first half was uneventful.
But once the second half commenced, shots started flying. By the 58th minute, both teams tallied one goal apiece.
UCLA recorded the first goal after freshman midfielder Delanie Sheehan rocketed one in off a cross from sophomore midfielder Jessie Fleming. Fleming contributed to the action later on in the match with a goal of her own.
The Canadian phenom netted a chip shot from the top corner of the box to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead in the 81st minute. It was just her third goal of the season, a scant amount compared to last year’s total.
With the victory, UCLA avenged a loss against Utah on the road last season.
This is your UCLA women’s soccer vs. Utah game thread.