The ship may have a new captain at its helm, but it was all smooth sailing for UCLA’s women’s soccer team last weekend.
After claiming two victories in her first two games as coach of the Bruins, Amanda Cromwell can now add those statistics to an already impressive coaching record, which ranks her among the top 30 all-time winningest women’s soccer coaches in NCAA history.
The No. 5 Bruins opened their campaign to win UCLA’s 110th national championship on Aug. 23, with a 4–0 victory over the Northeastern Huskies at home in Drake Stadium. Two days later, UCLA once again emerged victorious, with a 3-0 win against Cal State Northridge.
In Friday’s game, UCLA opened the scoring in the third minute, after freshman defender Gabbi Miranda fired in a rare spectacle of a goal, curling the ball in directly from a corner kick.
A key part of the Bruins’ offense for both games came from the left-sided duo of junior forward Rosie White and junior defender Caprice Dydasco. Their relentless threat on the goal resulted in White having the most shots in the Northeastern game, along a goal of her own.
“Coach (Cromwell) has been really trying to get the outside back and the outside midfield together, and there just happened to be a lot of space for me and Caprice to work together and we ended up getting quite a few runs in behind, so I think it just came together,” White said.
Dydasco earned an assist after her dazzling display of footwork beat the opposing Northeastern defender and gave Dydasco the opportunity to send a low cross into the path of freshman forward Darian Jenkins, who made the conversion.
Dydasco and Jenkins were able to link up for another goal against Cal State Northridge, in what could be described as a mirror image of the goal against Northeastern.
“I think this Northridge team gave me the whole open sideline just like on Friday night and I think my teammates and my outside forwards did a good job of opening space for me to take out the person one-on-one,” Dydasco said.
The Bruins also displayed their capability on the other side of the ball against the Huskies and Matadors. A tough tackling midfield stopping the opponent’s attacks early in their tracks suffocated UCLA’s opponent’s offensive endeavors, only allowing the Huskies one attempt on goal and restricting the Matadors to three.
“We work on team (defense) a lot, and anytime we can make the job for the players behind us easier, then you’ve done a good job,” Cromwell said. “Our midfield did cut out a lot of balls. (Northeastern) only had one shot, I think, overall in the whole night – that’s usually a pretty good outing defensively. Our back line is really strong in their one vs. one defending, so I was happy with the team defense.”
According to junior defender Abby Dahlkemper, the Bruins will look to these shutouts as motivation as they embark on a long four-game stretch away from home for the next two weeks.
“It’s just positive to have two shutouts going in to four really tough games, and I think we’re just going to continue on with good defense and that leads to good offense,” Dahlkemper said.