When a team is looking to start a road trip off right, getting the year’s first victory against a Pac-12 opponent helps.
“Anytime you can go on the road in our conference and get a victory, it’s a huge positive,” said UCLA women’s soccer coach B.J. Snow. “Being the first game of a five-game road trip, I think it gives us confidence for the other four games.”
The Bruins improved to (8-0-2, 1-0-1 Pac-12) by defeating the Arizona Wildcats 2-1 Friday, thanks in no small part to senior forward Zakiya Bywaters, who scored both of UCLA’s goals.
“With my speed up top, we’re able to get (the ball) behind the defense and finish the opportunities that we’re given,” Bywaters said. “I think with my speed and everything and just really making the right runs, I’m able to create more chances for myself.”
After having a total of eight goals in her previous three seasons, Bywaters has already scored eight this year.
“This year, the combination of all of her talent, plus her leadership and her willingness to take on the responsibility to score goals, is what has really spurred her to have such a tremendous year so far,” Snow said.
The victory was not the only accomplishment the Bruins enjoyed Friday night.
Sophomore goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland broke alumna CiCi Peterson’s school record of 540 consecutive shutout minutes, which had stood untouched since 2000.
Rowland shutout opponents for 565 consecutive minutes before giving up her first goal of the season in the 70th minute of the match on Friday.
She credited God and her teammates for helping her set the new record, but admitted it was never her main goal and wasn’t disappointed that her streak ended short ly thereafter.
“That really wasn’t my focus. It was just about getting the win for the team,” Rowland said.
“I was more upset that (the goal) went in because it was getting closer to them catching up and tying up (the game).”
Snow said he agreed that the team’s overall defense played a huge part in Rowland breaking the record.
“It’s a great testament to not only her and the work she has put in, but certainly to our entire team and the way we defend,” Snow said.
With this victory in the bag, UCLA will continue its road trip by facing off against Arizona State on Monday night.
Despite the win, Snow noted that the team has things to work on for their next match, including not turning the ball over and closing out games.
“We get a picture every single day that gives us a chance to go back to the drawing board and go to practice.” Snow said.
“I think we were our own worst enemy at times tonight and that’s something we should clean up.”