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Women’s soccer falls to Cal in conference opener after last-minute go-ahead goal

Junior defender Karina Rodriguez logged three shots in No. 7 UCLA women’s soccer’s conference opener. The Bruins fell 2-1 to California at Wallis Annenberg Stadium on Friday when the Bears scored a goal in the 88th minute. (Joy Hong/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Women's Soccer


California2
No. 7 UCLA1

By Cassidy Hunt

Sept. 28, 2019 4:14 p.m.

This post was updated Sept. 29 at 11:20 p.m. 

The Bruins have lost their second match of the season to another unranked team.

No. 7 UCLA women’s soccer (6-2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) was upset by California (9-1, 1-0) on Friday night in its conference opener. The Golden Bears scored a go-ahead goal in the 88th minute with a lower corner shot that was out of senior goalkeeper Teagan Micah’s reach.

Micah, who recorded two saves in UCLA’s loss, said the Bruins’ opponents have extra motivation to beat UCLA – one of the top teams in the country.

“Every single team in the nation really wants to beat UCLA,” Micah said. “Ranked or not, when someone beats us, it’s like they won a national championship. And, we know every opponent is going to come out like that at every single game. We have to kill any hope, and we aren’t doing that right now.”

California opened the scoring early in the match when midfielder Luca Deza finished one of the Bears’ seven corner kicks with a high shot over Micah’s fingertips in the sixth minute.

“We gave up a goal to a corner, and that’s a team goal,” said coach Amanda Cromwell. “It was disappointing because it was no secret what they tried to do, with getting in behind on the wrong side. We need to stop that type of thing.”

Although the Bruins recorded 16 corner kicks in the match, their only goal came on a penalty shot by junior midfielder Marley Canales.

Less than five minutes after the Bears scored, junior forward Ashley Sanchez was fouled inside the penalty box with a slide tackle by defender Emily Smith. Canales’ shot went over the California goalkeeper’s head and tied the match at one apiece.

UCLA increased its attempts from seven shots on goal in the first half to 10 in the second. However, the Bruins were unable to post a single shot on target in the entirety of the final period.

“We are definitely producing on the sideline, we just got to have that finishing focus,” said junior defender Karina Rodriguez. “We have to have someone that’s hungry to score, and I think that’s the part we’re missing. We want to score early, score often and we want to kill the other team earlier.”

The Bruins and Bears remained tied at one for the majority of the game. It wasn’t until there were two minutes and 43 seconds left on the clock that California was able to find the back of the net again to score the game winner.

Cromwell said she does not condemn the Bruin defensive line for the loss.

“I think in the end our defense played well,” Cromwell said. “They were tired, and we were trying to get subs in for our defenders, but we can’t fault them. Our attack has been faltering too much. We have to score more goals – period.”

UCLA will face two more conference opponents, Arizona and Arizona State, next week – but this time Micah, freshman midfielder Rachel Lowe, and senior midfielder Jessie Fleming will all be out of the country on national team duty.

Micah said although she won’t be on the pitch with her team, she hopes the Bruins fine-tune their game before their upcoming competitions.

“They’ve just got to hit it on frame, at least,” Micah said. “It doesn’t have to be pretty, it doesn’t have to be top corner – just hammer it home. We’ve got to have a short memory this season, and it’s a long season, so we just have to keep working as we go.”

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