Nowadays, every time senior Zakiya Bywaters or sophomore Ally Courtnall touches the ball, they get double-teamed like no other.
After early offensive success from the duo, opposing teams caught on, making it tough for them to get near the goal, let alone tuck the ball inside of it.
But the Bruins (5-0-1) are anything but a two-woman show, and this weekend was evidence of that.
Contributions from young players led to a 1-1 draw with Loyola Marymount on Friday and a 1-0 win over Tennessee on Sunday.
Sunday’s game against the Lady Vols (5-1-1) was stuck at 0-0 until sophomore forward Rosie White managed to sneak the ball past the hands of Tennessee’s goalkeeper.
The win was made all the more important for No. 1 UCLA by nature of the fact that they tied with LMU (5-2-1) on Friday.
“It was important … to show us that we are a really good team,” freshman forward Taylor Smith said. “It showed us we have the intensity to control games.”
On Friday, while the Bruins got off shot after shot, the Lions’ goalkeeper blocked almost all of them.
The Bruins looked as though they were about to suffer the first loss of 2012 until freshman midfielder Kristiana Konkol-Mroczkowski smoothly netted her first college goal.
Two 10-minute rounds of overtime, however, brought forth no rewards for either side.
On Sunday, it was once again some youthful pieces of the squad making the difference in the game. Along with Rosie White’s game-winning goal, Smith was a lively presence on the pitch.
She was credited with an assist and was key in holding the ball on the Bruins’ side of the field for most of the game.
Tennessee’s rough play brought with it a couple scares for the Bruins, as junior midfielder Chelsea Stewart and sophomore goalie Katelyn Rowland suffered minor injuries. Rowland’s injury, a seeming kick to the face as she went for a save, warranted a yellow card for the Lady Vols.
Next weekend will be the first chance for the Bruins to play as a full squad. Sophomore midfielders Samantha Mewis and Sarah Killion will return from the U-20 World Cup, where they took gold with Team USA.
“We’ll welcome those two back with open arms. … We obviously want to give them a little bit of rest, they’re coming off an emotional high and that can be a little difficult sometimes,” said coach B.J. Snow of his returning players.
Konkol-Mroczkowski described the weekend as a learning curve for the team.
“(On Friday) they came out harder than we did. It’s not like we underestimated them … and we took that as a lesson and put that into (Sunday’s) game,” said Konkol-Mroczkowski.
“We have to work hard the whole 90 minutes.”