The first week of Pac-12 play brought mixed results for UCLA.
After a crushing 4-0 loss to Washington (7-3, 2-1 Pac-12) last Thursday, the Bruins (5-3-1, 1-1-0) bounced back on Sunday, scoring twice in under two minutes in their 2-0 win over the Oregon State Beavers (4-4-2, 0-1-1).
This weekend No. 19 UCLA begins a three-game road stretch — its longest of the season — during which it will face the Pac-12′s current top-two leaders San Diego State (6-1-3, 1-0-1) and Stanford (4-2-3, 1-0-0).
The trip begins Saturday in San Diego, where the Bruins will take on the No. 13 Aztecs. Coming off a 1-0 overtime defeat of Washington, SDSU has only allowed four goals this season. Its .37 goals against average is the third lowest in the nation.
Scoring against SDSU was an issue for UCLA the last time the two teams faced off. In their final game of the 2015 season, the Bruins remained deadlocked in a scoreless tie with the Aztecs throughout regulation and an overtime period. It wasn’t until the 103rd minute that San Diego State managed to score the deciding goal in their 1-0 defeat of the Bruins.
None of UCLA’s 13 shots in the game – only three of which were on goal made it – past the SDSU goalkeeper Adam Allmaras. This year, Allmaras has a .911 save percentage and already recorded 41 saves.
The Bruins’ offensive power, though, makes it a strong contender against the Aztecs’ seasoned goalie. Redshirt junior midfielder Brian Iloski and sophomore midfielder Jackson Yueill have been standouts for UCLA thus far, putting up a respective nine and eight points this season.
The entire midfield core has been a strong suit for the Bruins recently, as sophomore Jose Hernandez and senior Felix Vobjeda each contributed a goal against the Beavers.
Saturday’s game marks an early conference test for a UCLA squad that has thus far played inconsistently in the Pac-12. A win will help carry the momentum from the OSU victory into Thursday’s matchup against Cal (4-3-1, 0-1-0), which is currently in last place in the Pac-12. Kickoff time on Saturday in San Diego is 7 p.m.