The UCLA Bruins women’s soccer team, fresh off a pair of exhibition victories over Loyola Marymount and UC Irvine, respectively, kick off the 2019 regular season tonight at 7:00 pm when they host the Iowa State Cyclones. The game will be televised nationally on the Pac-12 Network.
Last Time Out
The Bruins took care of business versus Loyola Marymount at home last Friday by the score of 4-1 and followed that up with a Sunday road win over the UCI Anteaters, 2-1. For those concerned about UCLA’s defense, not securing clean sheets and conceding tallies against lesser competition, please note that LMU scored its goal on a penalty kick after it was already 4-0, not in the run of play.
Although UCLA welcomed in an awesome recruiting class for 2019, one freshman stood out over the weekend, recording a goal and an assist in both games, including the game-winner with just a few minutes left in regulation against Irvine. That young woman is Kali Trevithick, a freshman forward from Rancho Christian High School in Temecula. Well done, Kali! Hopefully, her outstanding performance will continue in the regular season.
If you are unfamiliar with the 2019 iteration of the Bruin squad, I invite you to read Bruins Nation’s Season Preview of the 2019 team. Stated simply, UCLA is loaded with returning talent and has an influx of freshman who could elevate the Bruins’ overall game from past seasons, when it was pretty damn good. Senior Jessie Fleming, veteran of two World Cups and one Olympics with Team Canada, is still the undisputed leader of the UCLA squad.
The Cyclones lost seven seniors from a team that underwhelmed last season, going 4-14-2, and 2-6-1 in the Big 12 Conference. Only winless Kansas State did worse in the Big 12.
Iowa State did record two clean sheets in their exhibition games so far this season, knocked off Northern Iowa, 4-0, and Drake, 2-0. So, perhaps, they will be improved in 2019. UCLA, however, will present a completely different challenge in Westwood than UNI and Drake in Iowa.
The Cyclones do return junior goalkeeper, Dayja Schwichenberg, who made 108 saves last season and recorded four clean sheets. The team captain is Marin Daniel, a senior center back who will try to run the show from the back line. The leading returning scorer for Iowa State is junior forward Kissi Ginther, who had four goals and one assist for nine points last season. It will be interesting to see if Iowa State can challenge UCLA’s back line.
The Bruins should handle Iowa State with ease. Expect to see heavy squad rotation and lots of substitutions, with UCLA heading down the 405 to face a tougher Long Beach State team on Sunday. Hopefully, some of the freshman can log quality time before the season really ratchets up next week versus Florida and Florida State.
Final Score Prediction: UCLA defeats Iowa State easily by the score of 5-0.