It’s finally here, the day we’ve all been anticipating. It’s the day of the 2017 NCAA season opener where the UCLA Bruins will open the season at home at Drake Stadium against the San Diego State University Aztecs.
The Bruins visited San Diego State last season, shutting out the Aztecs, 5-0. Three of those goals came from former Bruin Darian Jenkins. Jenkins graduated this past Spring and was selected in the 2017 NWSL Draft along with former teammate Lauren Kaskie. In addition to losing Jenkins and Kaskie, UCLA also lost Courtney Proctor, Amber Munerlyn, Gabbi Miranda, and Annie Alvarado. The question then arose: What will UCLA do to replenish their offense? Answer: Assemble another star-studded freshman class that was ranked No. 2 in the nation by Top Drawer Soccer.
In the first exhibition match of the season, UCLA defeated Canada FISU, 1-0. A few days later, the Bruins had an offensive explosion when they defeated CSU Bakersfield, 8-1. The Roadrunners were no match for the mighty Bruins as they scored by eight goals from eight different players with four of them being freshmen. The Bruin scorers were Delanie Sheehan, Jessie Fleming, Marley Canales, Olivia Athens, Viviana Villacorta, Anika Rodriguez, Hailie Mace, and Chloe Castaneda. That’s not a bad way to replenish the offense.
While it’s too early to label teams as a contender and write others off, nine goals in two games is not a bad way to start off the season., even if those were exhibition matches. This 2017 team has the potential to be as great as the 2013 National Champions. They already have the pieces they need, even without Mal Pugh who went pro before ever playing for UCLA. If the Bruins can put those puzzle pieces together, then tonight could be the start of a National Championship run.
This is your UCLA vs. San Diego State women’s soccer open thread.