Make a checklist for zero week ““ go to Bruin Bash, buy textbooks, make sure to know where all your classes are.
Now, add in a five-day trip to Arizona.
Right as classes begin, UCLA women’s soccer gets going away from Westwood, with games at Arizona today and Arizona State on Monday.
When No. 3 UCLA hits the road this weekend, the Bruins will be doing so for the first time in more than a month.
The team’s last away game was at Fresno State, a game that it won 2-0. This time, though, the Bruins will face daunting Pac-12 competition.
“I think we see Pac-12 games as different than any other game, we just expect to get better with every single game we play,” said freshman forward Taylor Smith.
While UCLA has a strong squad, it will be away for many of its biggest games; coach B.J. Snow recognizes the good and bad.
“Traveling, especially in our conference, it can be both positive and negative,” Snow said.
As they travel to the desert, UCLA will embark on nearly a monthlong trip along the West to different conference games.
And the freshmen who will miss their first classes at UCLA will have plenty of help from their veteran teammates.
“Definitely, we talk a lot to them, organize your schedule, email your teachers, do all the little things, to keep that overwhelming feeling to a minimum,” said senior midfielder Chelsea Cline.
The Bruins played their first Pac-12 game last week, and it didn’t go as smoothly as their previous non-conference matches. They tied Washington State 0-0 in a game where the Bruins struggled to finish off chances and net the ball.
“We learned that we can’t just show up to games and expect teams to back down because of our reputation, we have to show up, we have to execute,” Smith said. “We have to come in and do our job.”
But the draw taught the team that its daily routine affects the way it plays in games.
“Since then we focus on bringing the energy in practice, do the little things and be excited to do it,” Cline said. “If you add some pep in your step, we might have what we were missing in that game,”
Both Arizona and Arizona State have struggled this season, with a few losses under each of their belts. When they’ve won, they have tended to do so by two or three goals, but both have been shut out several times.
The Bruins, who have shown prowess on both ends of the field, look to be a team that can challenge both the Wildcats and the Sun Devils.The Bruins do not see any part of their game that needs to shift when it comes to this weekend’s games.
While they might be facing a higher level in the Pac-12, they see their same style of play, the one that has resulted in an undefeated record so far this season, as what will help them compete in Arizona.
“I don’t think we’re going to make any adjustments,” Smith said.
“We just always try to make teams adjust to us.”