Saturday, January 18

Women’s soccer anticipates games in Arizona, wins weekly honors

Senior defender Gabrielle Matulich was named to the Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week for her performance this past weekend. (Amy Dixon/Assistant Photo editor)

The top-ranked Bruins (10-0-1, 3-0-0 Pac-12) travel to Arizona this week in search of coach Amanda Cromwell’s 300th career victory.

The team will take on Arizona State (4-5-2, 1-1-1 Pac-12) on Thursday and Arizona (5-3-2, 2-1-0) on Sunday, and remains one of only three teams in the NCAA Division I league without a single loss yet, with the other two being Texas and Milwaukee.

The Sun Devils fell 6-0 to second-ranked Stanford in their most recent game. Junior defender/forward Jemma Purfield leads ASU with three goals, and the Bruins took down the Sun Devils 2-0 last year.

Arizona upset No. 11 California – a team that the Bruins tied 1-1 with in double overtime last year – 1-0 on Sunday. UCLA has outscored its opponents 12-2 in road games this season.

Several Bruins earned a series of recognitions this week, particularly junior forward Hailie Mace, who was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week and the UCLA/Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week, both for the second time this season.

Mace had three goals and one assist during the weekend’s victories over Oregon and Oregon State. The forward leads the team and the Pac-12 with a career-high nine goals and is tied for first in total goals with Stanford’s Catarina Macario.

This is the Bruins’ fifth Pac-12 weekly honor this season. Senior defender Gabrielle Matulich was named to the Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week for her goal and assist against the Beavers.

Coach Amanda Cromwell recently tried out a new 3-5-2 lineup against Oregon State in order to give her attackers more opportunities and ease up the responsibilities of the heavily utilized defenders. It proved successful, as UCLA took down the Beavers 4-1.

[Related: Despite wins, UCLA women’s soccer faces some player-specific issues]

Cromwell also said she hopes to improve the amount the team can score when opportunities arise.

“We still need to improve on our set pieces,” Cromwell said after the win over Oregon State. “We had ten corners and didn’t score on one. We have to be more consistent on our counterpress and win the ball back immediately.”

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