It was a freshman who stole the show on Senior Night.
Freshman midfielder Jackson Yueill scored both of UCLA’s goals, as the No. 19-ranked Bruins (10-7-1, 5-3-1 Pac-12) defeated unranked Washington (7-5-6, 3-3-3) on Sunday night 2-1. The victory completed a weekend sweep following a 4-1 win Friday afternoon against unranked Oregon State (8-8-1, 3-5-1).
“It feels awesome,” said Yueill, following the second win in three days. “After the first goal, I think our motivation really picked up, we started playing great soccer.”
Yueill’s first goal came in the 31st minute after a second yellow card – and subsequent ejection – was issued to Washington defender Michael Gallagher, who has tallied the seventh-most minutes for the Huskies’ this season.
With the Bruins down 1-0, Yueill skillfully curled a free kick into the bottom-right corner of the net to equalize from just outside the penalty box.
“He has fantastic ability,” said coach Jorge Salcedo. “He is a very pure striker of the ball.”
Yueill’s second goal was a prime example of that pure shot, as senior forward Larry Ndjock set the freshman up inside the box in the 60th minute, and the freshman belted the ball into the upper-left corner of the net.
“The second goal was technique,” Salcedo said. “Where he places that, and how he finishes that, it’s a fantastic goal.”
Redshirt senior defender Edgar Contreras, on his senior night, was equally impressed with the freshman goal scorer.
“He’s integrated (into the team) great,” Contreras said. “He’s still developing, that’s the amazing thing. He’s still working hard and his hard work off the field shows … he’s a great team player and a great athlete.”
Yueill also notched an unassisted goal in Friday’s win against Oregon State, calmly slotting the ball past the keeper after an impressive solo run through the opposing defense.
The Bruins dominated against the Beavers, holding them to zero shots until the 68th minute. The home team ultimately outshot the visitors by a margin of 23-4.
UCLA had an abundance of chances in the first half, with sophomore forward Seyi Adekoya capitalizing in the 28th minute to start the scoring.
The Bruins found goals from all over the roster Friday, as four different players – senior midfielder Jordan Vale, Adekoya, Ndjock and Yueill – put together the team’s four goals. Sophomore forward Abu Danladi led Bruins with a pair of assists.
Sunday’s game against Washington was more of a test, as the squad celebrated its seniors’ regular season curtain call, but UCLA walked away with another important Pac-12 win.
“It’s always great to win on your last home game,” Contreras said. “We can possibly get another home game, but for right now, it’s exciting.”