The UCLA women’s soccer team (6-3-1) completes its Arizona road trip this weekend with a visit to Tempe to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils (6-3-1). UCLA has lost two straight games, including a 3-0 drubbing on Thursday night at the hand of the Arizona Wildcats. The Bruins were missing (and will miss today) three key players to international duty: midfielders Jessie Fleming and Rachel Lowe, and goalkeeper Teagan Micah. The Bruins sit 0-2 in the Pac-12.
The Sun Devils have problems of their own, with only one win and two ties in their last six games. ASU started the season hot, winning five straight, some of which were against marginal competition, such as Central Arkansas, Tennessee Tech, and Weber State, to name three of the five. As the competition got better, the Sun Devils have slumped.
Both teams will look to get back on track today.
Last Time Out
On Thursday night in Tucson, UCLA was thoroughly outclassed by a good (not great) Arizona team. As a program, it was only UCLA’s second loss to the Wildcats in 25 games. UCLA is now 22-2-1 versus all time versus Arizona.
In my preview article, I said for UCLA to win, it needed to shut down Wildcat forwards: Brooke Wilson, Jada Talley, and Jill Aguilera. Although Aguilera did not get on the score sheet, Talley torched the Bruins for two goals and Wilson notched the other. UCLA, on the other hand, could not solve the Wildcat defense, giving Arizona ‘keeper Hope Hisey her first clean sheet of her career. The Bruins were out-shot 12 to 11 in total and 7 to 5 on goal.
UCLA will, no doubt, drop in the rankings after the Arizona loss. Perhaps, the Bruins might even drop out of the rankings completely, even with a win today. I cannot remember the last time UCLA women’s soccer was not ranked in the Top 25.
Arizona State Sun Devils
The Arizona State Sun Devils do not appear to be as good as Arizona. Although the Sun Devils have scored 29 goals on the season to UCLA’s 16, 14 of those goals were scored in consecutive 7-1 home victories over the aforementioned Central Arkansas and Tennessee Tech.
Ten different Sun Devils have found the back of the net, with sophomore forward Nicole Douglas leading ASU with eight goals. Douglas also has three assists. Sophomore forward/misfielder Marlene Schimmer has five goals and four assists, and sophomore midfielder Eva Van Deurson has three goals with six assists.
Each of those three players hails from Europe with Douglas from England, Schimmer from Germany, and Van Deurson from the Netherlands. Freshman Giulia Cascapera, who has started nine of ASU’s eleven games, should be in net for the Sun Devils this afternoon.
I was only able to catch the first half the game the other night against the Wildcats, but the Bruins looked about as bad as any Amanda Cromwell coached team that I have seen. And UCLA only trailed 1-0 at the half. From what I can tell from the comments and the box score, it did not get any better in the second half. The missing players hurt, but do not fully explain how out of sync the team played on Thursday.
I wish that I could say I was optimistic about today. I am not. I predict that UCLA falls to the Sun Devils, 2-1.