Coach Adam Wright said a successful game of 6-on-5 opportunities would be converting at least half of the opportunities into goals.
The Bruins went five for 11 after not converting until the second quarter.
“We started off zero for four, and we were able to change that around,” Wright said. “I really believe our 6-on-5 can have the chance to get a lot better moving forward as we grow as a team, but tonight was much better than last week.”
No. 4 UCLA (13-1) beat No. 7 UC Irvine (3-5) 8-7 in double overtime Friday night.
The Bruins held a three-goal lead heading into the fourth quarter, but allowed the Anteaters to tie the score at six goals each with five minutes remaining in regulation. UC Irvine took the lead on a 6-on-5 opportunity with 1:50 to go, but junior attacker Lizette Rozeboom tied it up at 7-7 to force overtime.
“I think we rushed a couple passes toward the beginning of the game and toward the end of the game. Patience and being comfortable with the ball really helped in the end,” said sophomore attacker Maddie Musselman. “(Rozeboom) had that tying goal, and that was toward the end of a 6-on-5. I think taking that extra time to pass the ball around really draws the defense, so it’s very helpful for us.”
The Bruins had 23 shots compared to 34 by the Anteaters. Junior goalkeeper Carlee Kapana recorded 11 saves to keep UC Irvine to only 7 goals.
“It’s actually deceiving that it looks like our defense was so good, but when you have someone like (Kapana) behind you in the net, they clean up a lot of your mistakes,” Wright said. “(Kapana) is the backbone of our defense. We’re going to make mistakes, and it’s nice to have a goalie that can help us when we do need things, and put us in a situation to keep the game low-scoring.”
While the Anteaters took more shots, Rozeboom said that the team’s defense forced them to shoot from the areas where the Bruins wanted them to shoot from, putting UCLA’s defense and goalie in an advantageous position.
Rozeboom and Musselman both led the Bruins with a hat trick each, and senior attacker Devin Grab and sophomore attacker Bronte Halligan each added a goal.
This was the first time in the season that UCLA played only one game in a day. For the past three weekends, the Bruins have competed in four games over the span of two days.
“Early in the year, we’re trying to play as many games as possible. … It’s helped build stamina,” Wright said. “For tonight, the biggest thing is we were able to get everyone out there for the most part and the experience from a game where it’s tight or you’re up.”
Wright said Friday’s game was especially important because it gave UCLA overtime experience, something he thinks the Bruins will see a lot more of in the coming weeks.
UCLA will next be in action in Irvine on Friday against UC Santa Barbara at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational, which takes place from Friday through Feb. 25.