Junior forward Ashley Sanchez – who led UCLA women’s soccer in all scoring categories last season – carried the ball down the flank in the 87th minute and struck a cross into the box.
Kali Trevithick, who was playing in just her second game as a Bruin, sprinted toward the far post, dove headfirst and reached her forehead far enough to send the ball past the goalkeeper into the back of the net.
But the freshman forward’s game-winner against the Anteaters on Sunday wasn’t the only impact made by a new Bruin in their preseason exhibition slate.
No. 4 UCLA women’s soccer posted a 4-1 win over Loyola Marymount on Friday and went on to defeat UC Irvine 2-1 Sunday night. Four of the Bruins’ six goals came from players not on last year’s roster.
“They know coming into an elite team – and we only graduated two seniors – that there’s a lot of competition for spots,” said coach Amanda Cromwell. “These rookies have done a really good job of getting to where they need to be fitness-wise, mentality-wise, playing really skillful soccer.”
Trevithick came off the bench for UCLA women’s soccer against the Lions and notched a goal and an assist in her collegiate debut. She joined the starting lineup against the Anteaters on Sunday, assisting the first goal and scoring the game-winner in the 87th minute.
“It feels good because I came in really nervous” Trevithick said. “Coming from a club environment to the college environment, there’s a big difference with the players around me – they’re a lot easier to play with because they’re so talented.”
Freshmen forward Mia Fishel and midfielder Rachel Lowe started Friday’s match, and six others rookies made appearances off the bench. Junior transfer defender Lucy Parker started at center back alongside senior defender Kaiya McCullough, moving junior defender Karina Rodriguez – who started all 22 games last season at center back – to the outside of the defense.
Just 13 minutes and 43 seconds ran off the clock before Parker made her way up the field and capitalized on junior midfielder Marley Canales’ corner kick by heading the ball past the Lions’ goalkeeper.
“I was trying to stay relaxed at the start of the game and relay the confidence that the coaches had put in me by giving me my first start in the first game of the season,” Parker said. “The goal helped settle my nerves.”
Trevithick came off the bench to notch one of the Bruins’ next goals and assist redshirt senior forward Chloe Castaneda to put UCLA up 4-0 in the 66th minute. Sanchez entered the match at halftime and scored the third goal on an assist from Castaneda.
Trevithick and Sanchez both joined UCLA’s starting lineup Sunday against UC Irvine and earned assists on Fishel’s first-half goal.
“(Fishel and Trevithick) up front have been very dangerous and dynamic,” Cromwell said. “It’s fun watching them and seeing what kind of impact they can have.”
Defensively, the Bruins let up one goal to LMU on a penalty kick in the 83rd minute, after UCLA was called for a handball in the box. UC Irvine’s goal came on a long shot in the 48th minute.
In UCLA’s exhibition performance, the Bruins created goal scoring opportunities but failed to keep a shutout in either game. UCLA’s 61 goals scored tied for best in the country last season, while its .752 goals against per game average in 2018 ranked 35th in the nation.
Cromwell said defensive responsibility to preserve shutouts falls on the whole team, not just the backline.
“Our forwards need to do a lot better job of being ball winners,” Cromwell said. “It’s not about just the defense, it’s about what happened before that like giving the ball away in bad spots and not having the competitive mentality to win a ball played in the air.”
UCLA will start its regular-season slate with games next weekend against Iowa State and Long Beach State.