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UCLA Women’s Soccer: Bruins Migrate North to Face Washington Huskies

How will the Bruins fare on the road without three of their top players?

UCLA sophomore midfielder Viviana Villacorta has stepped up her game.
@UCLAWSoccer

The #10 UCLA Women’s Soccer team (8-3-1, 3-2 PAC 12) travels to the Pacific Northwest today to square off against the Washington Huskies (7-5-1, 2-3 PAC 12) . Kickoff is at 6 p.m. PT.

Washington is looking for a signature win over the Bruins after dropped two games against the “mountain schools” last weekend, losing 2-0 at Utah on Thursday and falling to #20 Colorado, 2-1, in double overtime. UCLA looks to extend it’s winning streak to four games.

WASHINGTON

If UCLA is to find success tonight, it would do well to try to shut down sophomore midfielder Olivia Van der Jagt, who has found the back of the net five times this season for the Huskies. Included in those five goals are four game winners, as Van der Jagt has accounted for the game winner in more than half of the Huskies’ seven wins.

The Bruins will also need to keep an eye on freshman forward Summer Yates (three goals) and senior forward Pascale Dumesnil (two goals, two assists).

Siena Ruelas should start in goal tonight. She has started every game for the Huskies and played all but 21 minutes of the season. The junior has made 44 saves on the season and registered four clean sheets. She allows slightly more than one goal per game.

Even with UCLA missing so many important players, the Bruins are still deep and threatening. As such, I expect UW to pack it in against UCLA, and try to catch UCLA sleeping on the counterattack.

UCLA

After losing a tough road game two weeks ago at Stanford, 3-2, UCLA has reeled off three straight wins. Still missing Hailie Mace and Jessie Fleming due to the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament, UCLA was dealt another tough blow when another of its top players, Anika Rodriguez, suffered a knee injury against Arizona State last Thursday night.

Rodriguez, known for her skill, high motor, and chippiness, did not play against Arizona on Sunday. She has been seen on crutches, with her left knee wrapped. Although there has been ho official announcement on her playing status, and I do not expect her to play in the near future.

UCLA still managed to boss the Arizona schools last weekend, by a 3-1 margin over Arizona State (ASU scored a beautiful goal late to ruin the clean sheet), and a 2-0 margin over Arizona.

Sophomore midfielder Viviana Villacorta has stepped up her game of late, with three goals and two assists on the season, as has freshman midfielder Maricarmen Reyes, who has potted three goals. Sophomore Olivia Athens has also stepped up in the midfield with Fleming absent.

This is going to be an incredibly deep UCLA team once everybody returns and is healthy for a postseason run.

OUTLOOK

Even with Anika Rodriguez on crutches, and Mace and Fleming on national team duty, UCLA still has enough talent to beat the Huskies. It might be closer than some think though. I predict that UCLA prevails, 2-1.

This is your UCLA Women’s Soccer versus Washington Huskies open thread. Follow along with the action and let your thoughts be heard in the comment section.

Go Bruins!