The Bruins have a chance to extend their win streak to six games this weekend.
No. 9 UCLA women’s soccer (9-3-1, 4-2-0 Pac 12) will play its final two home games of the regular season against Oregon (7-6-1, 1-5-0) on Thursday and Oregon State (2-12-0, 1-5-0) on Sunday.
“At this point last year, we had been winning for a long time and we started losing,” said senior forward Julia Hernandez. “I think the opposite is happening (now), which is good because we’re starting to figure things out and adding pieces together with people coming back from injury and the girls from the national teams about to come back.”
Both Oregon and Oregon State sit at the bottom of the Pac-12 standings. However, Oregon forced No. 1 Stanford to overtime two weeks ago before losing 1-0.
“The thing about Oregon is their RPI is still very high,”said coach Amanda Cromwell. “They’ve struggled in the Pac-12 to get results, but they’re still a very good team. So we focus on that – what the actual team is like and not necessarily their results because results aren’t the full picture of what a team can do and how good they are.”
The Ducks and Beavers have scored 16 and six goals, respectively, this season – both falling short of the Bruins’ 26 goals.
UCLA has been training against high pressure in preparation for this weekend.
“We’ve been working on how to break their press,” said sophomore midfielder Delanie Sheehan. “Teams play us differently – low block, high block – so we work on all that.”
Sheehan was the second consecutive Bruin to be named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week after her performance against Washington on Friday, in which she scored her third goal of the season.
Junior goalkeeper Teagan Micah was also recognized for her fifth solo shutout of the season, earning Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week for the second time this year.
Sheehan and Micah have helped UCLA hold its opponents to one goal in the last four games – helping the Bruins outscore the competition 11-1.
UCLA’s only three losses this season have come against ranked opponents – something Cromwell said has helped the team develop.
“We’ve learned from some earlier mistakes,” Cromwell said. “We played a tough nonconference schedule so we’re always going to get better because of that even if we’ve taken a loss – we can still get better in a loss.”
The Bruins are focused on finishing off their conference schedule before heading into the postseason.
“We still have chances to win Pac-12, so we are still fighting for that,” Hernandez said.