In its home opener of the season, the No. 6 UCLA women’s soccer team (4-1-1) blanked the Gonzaga Bulldogs (3-3-0), 2-0, on Sunday at Drake Stadium.

Senior forward Kristina Larsen scored both Bruin goals, which occurred within the first two minutes of each half.

At the 1:37 mark, Larsen received an assist from freshman midfielder Zakiya Bywaters and catapulted a shot from long range that bounced off the left post into the net.

Within 23 seconds of the second-half start, junior defender Lauren Barnes dribbled down the middle past several Gonzaga defenders before passing the ball to sophomore forward Sydney Leroux. Leroux launched a cross from the left to Barnes, who fed Larsen. Larsen fired a shot into the right post, registering her fourth shot of the season.

“She’s back in her natural position up front,” coach Jill Ellis said. “She’s finding the back of the net; she’s doing a great job. I think her and Sydney are a good pairing up front together.”

Despite UCLA’s early goals, Ellis said that the Bruins settled a bit, especially during the first half.

“We got the early goal and now we just can’t relax,” Ellis said. “I thought our second half was much better. (We) got the early goal but I think we sustained our momentum and did a great job.”

Larsen shared Ellis’ sentiment.

“It was good that we scored early but it made us feel relaxed when we should have been going at it the whole time,” Larsen said. “But second half we did a lot better. We scored early again and then we just kept going with it. We had a lot more opportunities; it’s just frustrating (not scoring).”

According to Ellis, the Bruins improved in the second half because they played more laterally rather than longitudinally, which helped their scoring opportunities.

“We did a little better job in the second half playing east-west this way instead of north-south. It opened them up a little more,” Ellis said.

Larsen said that in the first half, the Bruins were getting more than two touches, trapping themselves in a lot of opponent-defensive pressure.

“I think when we possess the ball, we start to play really well. We knock it around; simple one-two touches,” Larsen said. “First half we weren’t winning the 50-50s in the air. Second half, we started to pick that up, and that picked the whole game up.”

Larsen almost recorded a hat trick in the 88th minute when Bulldog goalkeeper Jessie Thalman blocked Larsen’s strike. Larsen’s shot was part of a bevy of solid UCLA shots that would have been goals in the second half had Gonzaga not defended.

Ellis said that the Bulldogs battled themselves back into the game.

“We took a lot of good shots, and I thought our shots were quality,” Ellis said. “I think they probably cleared a couple, three or four off the goal line, so part of that, we’ve got to find the back of the net, and the other part is they’re getting numbers around the ball. They did a good job of that.”

The Bruins host the UCLA Women’s Cup starting this week at home. They play Utah on Friday and Missouri on Sunday at Drake Stadium.