The Bruins marked the first stop of their Rocky Mountain road trip with a win.
No. 8 UCLA women’s soccer (12-3-1, 7-2 Pac-12) defeated Utah (8-8-1, 5-4) 5-1 at Ute Soccer Field in Salt Lake City, Utah. The win marked the Bruins’ seventh Pac-12 win in a row.
UCLA took the lead from a corner kick in just under four minutes after a lofted cross from a corner was nodded into the top left corner by sophomore defender Karina Rodriguez.
Before the match, the Utes had won five out of their last six conference matches, only losing 2-0 to No. 1 Stanford. Assistant coach Sam Greene said UCLA utilized a wide range of set pieces to put pressure on Utah.
“Set pieces are always important for us, especially when we want to score on them,” Greene said. “We have a lot of different types of set pieces and I think tonight we were successful at that, as the goals we were able to score were from corners and almost scored from a couple free kicks, so that was positive.”
UCLA doubled their lead in the 27th minute after a shot from sophomore defender Delanie Sheehan from the right side of the box was blocked into the goal, where redshirt junior Chloe Castaneda slotted the ball in from close range.
The Bruins finished the first half with a 2-0 lead and six out of seven shots taken finishing on target, whereas the Utes were held to two shots. Utah goalkeeper Carly Nelson finished the match with six saves.
Utah halved the leadoff of a corner kick in the 48th minute, when a loose ball in the box from a corner was not cleared by the UCLA defenders and was eventually tapped in after a scrum in the goal.
Greene said the Bruins will have to make changes when defending set pieces, but the tap-in was the Utes’ only shot on goal over the course of the entire match.
“On the other side, giving up a goal from a set piece is something you never want to do,” Greene said. “But that was really their only chance they had tonight.”
Sheenan regained the two-goal cushion for the Bruins after taking a give-and-go through ball from senior forward Julia Hernandez and placing it past the goalkeeper. Sheehan finished the match with one goal and one assist, taking her season totals to four goals and three assists.
“I think we were absolutely dominant tonight with the ball and our chemistry,” Greene said. “We talked a lot about building through combination play and breaking down the team with our possession, but using our possession to break lines. The goalkeeper (Nelson) made a few saves, which might have been the best of her career, especially on the free kick against Hailie Mace.”
UCLA finished the match with 17 shots and 11 on goal, as well as recording six corner kicks total.
Hernandez earned a penalty and another set piece for the Bruins in the 59th minute, after which junior midfielder Jessie Fleming scored from spot to make the score 4-1.
Redshirt freshman Dani Satterwhite recorded her first goal of her career from another corner kick in the 88th minute to take the score to 5-1. The Bruins recorded five corner kicks in the second half alone.
Following the win, the Bruins will travel to Boulder to face No. 20 Colorado on Sunday at 1 p.m.