The Bruins have lengthened their winning streak to five.
No. 9 UCLA women’s soccer (10-3-1, 5-2-0 Pac-12) defeated Oregon (7-7-1, 1-6-0) 2-1 on Thursday night at Wallis Annenberg Stadium, extending their winning streak to a season-high five games.
“(Oregon) came out big tonight,” said sophomore forward Ashley Sanchez. “I know we let in a goal, so that’s unfortunate, but we played a really good game against them tonight. I think we’re a strong team.”
The majority of goal scoring occurred in the first five and a half minutes of the game. UCLA opened the scoring in the fifth minute when Sanchez dribbled past Oregon goalkeeper Halla Hinriksdottir to score her fifth goal of the season, good for the top spot on the team in goals scored.
Oregon answered just 21 seconds later when defender Jazmin Jackmon sent a shot over junior goalkeeper Teagan Micah’s head.
“We picked it up in the midfield and (Sanchez) just dribbled it in,” said coach Amanda Cromwell. “It was a really composed finish. She waited for the opening and made it look easier than it actually is.”
Sophomore defender Kennedy Faulknor gave the Bruins the lead in the 39th minute with a header off of a corner kick from Sanchez.
Micah faced just two shots on goal in the match, recording her only save late in the final period. Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the second half of the match.
“(Micah) played great, she always comes out big and she is really good about communicating with us,” Faulknor said. “Having (Micah) there motivates us. She made a big save, so we just rally behind her and try to keep it going. She is a really big part of this team.”
UCLA recorded 13 shots in the match, six of which were courtesy of Sanchez.
“The whole team did well on offense tonight,” Sanchez said. “We created tons of chances and needed to finish more, but we will work on that.”
Junior defender Jacey Pederson, who had not played since early September due to injury, made her return to the field in the second half of the match.
Senior forward Hailie Mace and junior midfielder Jessie Fleming, who have been on national team duty for the majority of the season, are expected to return to the squad for Sunday’s game against Oregon State. Two of UCLA’s three loses and its only tie occurred in games when Mace and Fleming were not present.
“It’s going to be great having them all come back into the mix,” Sanchez said. “We’ve been doing pretty well without them. I think it helped us grow as a team not to rely on them. But I know having them back will be awesome and we’re excited about it.”
Cromwell said senior forward Anika Rodriguez, who injured her knee in UCLA’s match against Arizona State on Oct. 4, is out indefinitely. She has decided to return to the squad in the 2019 season as a fifth-year student.
The Bruins will celebrate Senior Day when they face the Beavers in their final home game of the season Sunday.