The UCLA women’s soccer team (3-1-1), fresh off a 3-0 win over Pepperdine at home Friday night, travel a few miles down the 405 tonight to take on the Loyola Marymount University Lions (2-4-2). Kickoff is at 7 pm PT.
Despite beating the Waves convincingly, the #8 Bruins dropped a spot in the polls earlier this week, as Santa Clara jumped up to #7 from #12, based on the strength of back-to-back wins at home against then #2 North Carolina and Notre Dame. Now, UCLA plays two road games close to home—at LMU tonight and at San Diego State on Sunday—before beginning conference play against a tough Wazzou team a week from tomorrow.
LMU is coming off a two-game road trip in the Chicago area, losing 1-0 to #15 Northwestern, and getting a scoreless draw against a good DePaul squad. The Lions failed to score a goal on the road trip, but have been better at home, winning two of three and scoring five goals in those games.
LMU has gotten balanced scoring this season, with five players scoring seven goals. Freshman midfielder Jayln Lupo has two, as does senior attacker Serena Bolden. Freshman Sydney Schultz has two assists. If the UCLA back line can take care of those three, the Bruins should be fine tonight.
Senior goalkeeper Charlee Pruitt has played every minute of every game the Lions have played this season. Pruitt has 27 saves on the season, but has allowed 11 goals. She has one clean sheet, the 0-0 draw against DePaul in her last game.
Junior midfielder Jessie Fleming did not see action against Pepperdine last Friday night. In fact, she has only made two appearances for the Bruins in their five games this season due to international duty. Fleming also took a knock against Penn State 19 days ago, so it will be interesting to see whether she is healthy enough to see the field tonight.
Even without Fleming, UCLA is loaded. Hailie Mace played her second game for UCLA this season (Mace was called up for USWNT duty) against Pepperdine, notching an assist on UCLA’s first goal. Mace should see a lot of playing time tonight.
Anika Rodriguez and Ashley Sanchez both starred against Pepperdine as well, with both players scoring a goal and assisting on another. Freshman Maricarmen Reyes also chipped in a goal against the Waves, her second of the season.
Junior Teagan Micah was given a half off last Friday against Pepperdine. Redshirt freshman Lauren Brzykcy started and played the first half with Micah coming on for the second half. The two combined for the clean sheet, although Brzykcy was not called upon to make a save. Micah made two. We could see more of the same tonight, or Head Coach Amanda Cromwell might go with the veteran Micah on the road.
This is a game that UCLA should win. Setting aside the four goals scored against them by Florida State at the end of an exhausting road trip, UCLA has only allowed one goal in its four other games this season. Although I think the Bruins might concede one more tonight, their offensive firepower will ultimately be too much for the Lions. I expect a solid performance from front to back, with the Bruins prevailing 3-1.
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This is your UCLA Women’s soccer versus Loyola Marymount open thread.