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Women’s soccer keeps opponents scoreless as freshmen shine in season start

Freshman midfielder/forward Mia Fishel scored a goal in each of No. 4 UCLA women’s soccer’s games this weekend. Fishel also notched two goals in four games at the World University Games in July and one in the Bruins’ exhibition series. (Niveda Tennety/Assistant Photo editor)

Women's soccer

Iowa State0
No. 4 UCLA3
No. 4 UCLA1
Long Beach State0

By Cassidy Hunt

Aug. 26, 2019 12:17 a.m.

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated UCLA attempted a penalty kick in the 80th minute. In fact, UCLA attempted a free kick in the 80th minute.

This post was updated Aug. 26 at 5:32 p.m.

The Bruins opened their season with a pair of shutout victories.

No. 4 UCLA women’s soccer (2-0) took on Iowa State (1-1) and Long Beach State (0-1) over the weekend in the first two matches of its 2019 season. The Bruins defeated the Cyclones 3-0 at Wallis Annenberg Stadium on Friday before traveling south to beat the 49ers 1-0 on Sunday.

“It’s all about momentum,” said freshman midfielder/forward Mia Fishel. “If we keep building off of each win and tweaking little details, it will help us win three (or) four to zero. And, I think it can help us win a national championship in the end.”

In Friday’s match, junior forward Ashley Sanchez recorded the first goal of UCLA’s season with an upper right corner shot that was touched but never controlled by Iowa’s goalkeeper Dayja Schwichtenberg.

Two freshmen saw their first career goals in Fridays’s second half.

Sanchez assisted freshman midfielder Rachel Lowe to score in the 58th minute, and, after recording five shots throughout the match, Fishel found the back of the net with less than 20 seconds remaining in the game.

“We work well together and always keep passing until we know we have it,” Fishel said. “It’s all about being aware of your surroundings and your teammates and playing good balls or just being there to finish them.”

In the Bruins’ first 2019 victory, senior goalkeeper Teagan Micah not only became the only UCLA goalkeeper to start in four straight opening games, but also recorded her 200th career save in the first half of the competition.

“(Micah) is going to be a huge part of our success,” said coach Amanda Cromwell. “Being a World Cup player and coming from that caliber, with that experience, it’s great that we have her as a starter.”

The Bruins took the lead early against the 49ers on Sunday when Sanchez assisted Fishel to score the freshman’s second goal in as many career games in front of a record-breaking crowd at Long Beach State.

“(Sanchez) is so creative and dynamic,” Cromwell said. “She’s always going to be someone for us that we need to step up and score goals or assist or even draw attention. She gets numbers around her and they try to disrupt her, but she finds ways to be impactful still.”

UCLA was unable to increase its lead for the remainder of the game, though it saw many opportunities, including a free kick in the 80th minute and seven corner kicks in the second half alone.

“We left a lot of goals on the table, that was my main complaint tonight,” Cromwell said. “We had 21 shots and 11 corner kicks, so we should have put some more away. The offense and set up were great. They created it, they just need to finish it.”

The Bruins maintained control for the majority of the competition, though the 49ers were able to log several possessions in the final quarter of the match.

“We knew coming in that it was going to be a tough one,” Sanchez said. “We like to battle for the win and I think we executed well. It really was an overall team performance.”

Despite a dispute over whether a corner kick by 49er forward Kaylee Ramirez resulted in the ball crossing the goal line, Long Beach State failed to find the back of the net for the entirety of Sunday’s game.

With an assist and a goal in UCLA’s match against Iowa State and an assist against Long Beach State, Sanchez extended her point-scoring streak – which has lasted since September 2018 – to 15 games.

The Bruins will play their first match against a ranked opponent Thursday at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, where they will meet No. 1 Florida State – last year’s national champion.

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Cassidy Hunt | Sports staff
Hunt is currently a Sports staff writer on the gymnastics beat. She was previously a reporter on the women's soccer, women's water polo and swim & dive beats.
Hunt is currently a Sports staff writer on the gymnastics beat. She was previously a reporter on the women's soccer, women's water polo and swim & dive beats.
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