Two UCLA women’s soccer players snuck behind the team’s beloved skipper, drenching her in what looked like lime-green Powerade.
It was a common celebration for a prestigious milestone. The Bruins didn’t claim just another victory in their undefeated 2017 season. It was career win No. 300 for coach Amanda Cromwell.
And it was accomplished in dominant fashion.
No. 1 UCLA (11-0-1, 4-0 Pac-12) exited Tempe, Arizona with a 3-0 victory against Arizona State (4-6-2, 1-2-1) after another offensive explosion.
Junior forward Hailie Mace, who earned yet another Pac-12 Player of the Week, gave the Bruins the early lead 19 minutes into the first half.
Sun Devils goalie Jemma Purfield denied the speedster from notching her first goal five minutes earlier. But Mace wouldn’t be rejected the opening goal a second time.
Redshirt sophomore Anika Rodriguez, last year’s team leader in assists, fed Mace, who then drilled in her 10th goal of the year.
She wasn’t finished.
UCLA earned a penalty kick in the 53rd minute, and Cromwell gave her leading scorer – who else? – the opportunity to extend the lead. And Mace did, putting the Bruins up 2-0.
Just 36 seconds later, Rodriguez rocketed a shot, but was denied by the post. She corralled the rebound and slipped one past Purfield for the dagger. UCLA got three more shots off prior to the end of the game, but was more conservative, given the 3-0 lead.
Sophomore goalkeeper Teagan Micah stifled Arizona State, collecting her fifth shutout of the year. The Sun Devils recorded just four shots on goal overall.
The Bruins have a chance to finish their trip to Arizona with back-to-back wins when they face off against the Arizona Wildcats (5-4-2, 2-2-0) on Sunday. Arizona is coming off a brutal double overtime loss to USC.
Last year, UCLA finished off Arizona in overtime. This year could be different.
While the Wildcats may not boast the most daunting regime that’s left on the Bruins’ schedule, they have challenged perennial powerhouses, such as the Trojans and the Stanford Cardinal – the No. 2 team in the nation.
Not many defenses have handled UCLA’s offensive attack this season, but Arizona has the capability to at least slow it down. The Wildcats have allowed just eight goals thus far, which is less than one per game.
Offensively, Arizona doesn’t boast a go-to playmaker – the team leader in goals has two this year. But the Wildcats’ conservative defensive scheme could cause trouble for the Bruins.
This is your UCLA women’s soccer vs. Arizona game thread.