By Hye Kwon
The UCLA women’s soccer team continued its inspired play as it shut out the struggling Wildcats of Arizona Saturday morning, 4-0, on the North Soccer Field.
The win improved the Bruins’ record to 6-2-1, while the Wildcats fell to 1-6-0.
With sophomore defender Sue Skenderian still out because of a nagging back injury, the Bruins featured a starting lineup consisting of all freshmen.
Despite their inexperience at the collegiate level, the 11 freshmen dominated the possession of the ball and outshot Arizona 26 to 4.
The Wildcats were ineffective in breaking through the Bruin defenders at midfield throughout the match, and the Arizona goal keeper was constantly bombarded by the swarm of Bruin attackers.
It didn’t take long for UCLA to get on the scoreboard as forward
Traci Arkenberg, the team’s leading scorer, broke the scoreless tie in the 13th minute by chipping in a pass from defender Julie Koudelka.
In the second half, Arkenberg was fouled in the penalty area and scored her second goal of the match on the ensuing penalty kick. Before she could get a hat trick, coach Joy Fawcett pulled Arkenberg off the field to get sophomore forward Christine Sanders more playing time.
Showing her competitive personality, Arkenberg down-played her personal performance after the match.
“I should have put more in,” she said. “There were some easy shots that I missed.”
Two insurance goals were later added by midfielders Shannon Thomas and Melanie Hom at 53:42 and 81:14, respectively.
“We really hung together today and supported each other” Arkenberg said. “We feel confident in going into the second part of the season.”
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Coming off an impressive win over the Wildcats for Arizona on Saturday, the UCLA women’s soccer team will travel to UC Irvine for an important match tonight at 7.
The Bruins are 4-1 in their last five matches, and the confidence of the young team seems to be growing by the match.
Last season, UCLA defeated the Anteaters by a score of 3-1. Two of the goals came from last year’s top scorer, Sonja Munevar.
With Munevar lost to graduation and veteran defender Sue Skenderian still questionable due to a back injury, the team will look to two key players.
Freshman forward Traci Arkenberg and freshman goalkeeper Gretchen Overgaard have really stepped up on the field for UCLA and will be counted on for leadership.
Coming into the week, Overgaard ranks first in the region in save percentage after allowing just three goals and posting 40 saves (.930). She also ranks eighth in the nation in goals against average.
Arkenberg is ranked ninth in the nation in goals scored and 11th in scoring. The two goals scored on Saturday puts her season total at eight, and she also has two assists.
The Bruins will be challenged by an Irvine team that is much more formidable than the Arizona Wildcats, who are in their first year of NCAA play.
“I know the coach and the team and they’re pretty good,” said Arkenberg. “But, we have more skills.”