Today, 3:00 P.M.
UCLA women’s soccer has only three more obstacles to overcome before they grab hold of an undefeated season. Two of them will take their place atop the pitch at Drake Stadium this weekend, daring the Bruins to topple them. UCLA faces No. 21 Cal this afternoon and No. 1 Stanford on Sunday in its last two home games of the season.
In the Pac-12, they sit 1-2-3 in the conference standings ““ Cardinal, Bruins, Bears. The only thing separating No. 2 UCLA from Stanford is one tie, as Stanford has won all eight of its conference games thus far.
“It’s big in terms of seeding, in terms of nationally and the conference, but we can’t think about that. All we can do is control what we can control,” coach B.J. Snow said.
The Bruins not only understand the importance of these games, but also understand working toward each one at a time.
“These games are the most important of the season. … We need to focus all our attention on Cal, then Stanford,” freshman forward Taylor Smith said.
“We need to focus on all the small details and just do what we do best.”
The Bruins’ only loss in the last two seasons came against the Cardinal last season in Palo Alto. This season, though, UCLA has a vital advantage ““ the familiarity of the crowd at Drake.
“I think that’s really cool, now that we’re at school, to have those people come out and support, and really get the energy going,” Smith said.
For the team, this weekend presents the opportunity to get two games closer to an undefeated season. With 14 wins under their belt, Stanford is their biggest threat. Although the Cardinal have lost a game, it was not in conference play. And when it comes to the powerful Pac-12 conference, it’s those rankings that matter at the end of the season.
“Everyone in our conference is a big win, so when you’re talking about Cal or Stanford. … If you lose, you put yourself in a bad situation, not only within (the Pac-12) but within the country,” Snow said.
While the weekend is going to bring hefty competition, first in navy and gold, and then in shining Cardinal red, the Bruins are going to keep their focus turned inward. As an undefeated team, they have the confidence and power to keep moving forward, but it’s up to the squad to keep that in mind.
“I think they’re going to be the most competitive games of the season, but we need to focus on ourselves,” sophomore forward Rosie White said.
“We’re not going to overthink it, just do what we’ve been doing.”