Ashley Sanchez is on a roll.
The sophomore forward leads No. 6 UCLA women’s soccer (13-3-1, 8-2 Pac-12) in goals and assists with eight and seven, respectively. Collectively, Sanchez has recorded 23 points this season.
Sanchez created both goals in the Bruins’ 2-1 defeat of No. 21 Colorado (13-3-3, 5-3-2) on Sunday, first assisting sophomore midfielder Olivia Athens to score the game opener and then managing to score a goal of her own later in the match to take the lead.
“I’m so proud of (Sanchez) for the way she’s been playing lately,” said sophomore defender Karina Rodriguez. “Supporting her, getting her the ball, moving for her and utilizing her crazy talent and ability is something we’re really focusing on.”
Sanchez has recorded either a goal or an assist in each match of UCLA’s eight-game win streak and has scored six of her eight goals in the month of October. Her work over the weekend in UCLA’s matches against Utah and Colorado earned her the UCLA/Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week title for the second consecutive time.
Sanchez was moved to inside left midfielder while junior midfielder Jessie Fleming was on national team duty with Canada earlier this season.
“She just started to get on the ball a lot more and got a lot of touches (after moving to inside left),” said coach Amanda Cromwell. “I think she just grew in confidence from that. Once we pushed her back up high again, she’s kept having the same kind of impact – she’s on the ball a lot and she’s creative and she’s getting assists and goals.”
UCLA’s second-highest goal scorer this season – senior forward/midfielder Anika Rodriguez– has been on the disabled list for a knee injury since Oct. 4th. Anika Rodriguez led the Bruins in both goals and assists until suffering her injury.
With Anika Rodriguez’s absence, Sanchez has managed to top the lists, besting Anika Rodriguez’s four goals and five assists.
The Bruins will play their final regular season game against No. 2 USC (15-1-2, 8-1-1) on Friday. In UCLA’s last meeting with USC, Sanchez scored the game winning overtime goal.
“In (the USC versus UCLA) game, both sides are always going to give everything they have,” Sanchez said. “We need to fine tune everything this week to try to get prepared for them.”
Entering the end of regular season play, Sanchez leads the Pac-12 conference in shots on goal and is ranked ninth in goals scored.
“(Sanchez) is definitely just a special player. She’s crafty on the ball and she works hard defensively,” Karina Rodriguez said. “I think she has just really fine tuned her game coming into the end of Pac-12 and heading into this postseason.”