It was 0-0 at halftime in Drake Stadium. The visiting Washington
State Cougars had lived up to their reputation as a challenging undefeated team. But 15 minutes and five lineup switches later, the Bruins looked well-equipped to hand
the Cougars their first defeat of the season.
“They played us really well the first half defensively; they were smart about what they were doing, and we couldn’t quite figure it out on the run of play, so we made some adjustments at halftime … and had a much better second half,” said coach Amanda Cromwell.
One of the key changes that contributed to UCLA women’s soccer’s 2-0 win over Washington State was starting redshirt sophomore Courtney Proctor at center forward in the second half.
Proctor showed keen positional awareness after coming on as a substitute in the first half, making several runs that would have created one-on-one situations with the goalkeeper, but the Bruins were unable to deliver the ball past the Cougar’s backline.
Proctor’s chance came early in the second half with a shot on target that forced the Cougar goalkeeper to concede a corner. Proctor’s positioning was a factor once again in the ensuing set piece; after getting herself open in the box, she took advantage of the available time and space to control the ball from the corner, before blasting it into the goal on a half volley.
“It was exciting. It was relieving because I was always trying to get that first goal,” Proctor said about scoring her first collegiate goal.
Another noteworthy halftime shift by Cromwell was switching junior midfielder Caprice Dydasco’s position.
Dydasco had an uneventful first half playing the right back position before eventually being substituted for junior defender Ally Courtnall. But after her reintroduction as a left back in the second half. Dydasco seemed to rediscover her speed and fancy footwork, leaving many Cougar players in her wake in a performance that her coach described as phenomenal.
“In the first half I took it hard on myself and I knew I didn’t play my game. I came out to the second half gaining some confidence and wanting to have fun and doing what I’m good at. … I think that’s what helped,” Dydasco said.
After beating yet another Washington State defender on the dribble in the 64th minute, Dydasco sent a low cross into the path of freshman forward Darian Jenkins, who put UCLA up by two.
With that assist, Dydasco maintains her streak of claiming an assist in every home game this season. While Dydasco said adding to her assist tally is exciting, she mentioned that she’s also on the lookout for her first collegiate goal.
And though Dydasco admitted that playing on the left made her feel more comfortable, she said one of her other personal goals for the season is to develop her versatility as a fullback.
“I think I am more comfortable (on the left), but a challenge for me this year is to be comfortable left and right,” she said.
Cromwell said the two-goal cushion in the game against the Cougars couldn’t have come at a better time for the Bruins, considering the tough week ahead.
“Beating (Washington State) just gives us confidence going forward for Washington and the crazy schedule next week with Washington on Monday and Stanford on Thursday,” Cromwell said. “So it’s good to be able to get a lead that we felt comfortable with to get some people out to rest. … Right now it’s all about recovering and getting ready for Monday.”