UCLA women’s soccer splits up as players kick off national team duties
Senior goalkeeper Teagan Micah has averaged 87 minutes per game this season with No. 7 UCLA women’s soccer. Micah will be joined by freshman midfielder Rachel Lowe at national team camp for Australia this week. (Joy Hong/Daily Bruin senior staff)
Sept. 30, 2019 11:52 p.m.
The Bruins will travel this week – but not every player will board the same flight.
When No. 7 UCLA women’s soccer (6-2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) heads to the Grand Canyon State for a pair of games against Arizona and Arizona State, the team will play without three Bruins who have been called up to their respective national squads. Senior goalkeeper Teagan Micah, freshman midfielder Rachel Lowe and senior midfielder Jessie Fleming will miss both games, leaving coach Amanda Cromwell to fill in major gaps in UCLA’s starting lineup and bench.
Micah, Lowe and Fleming all took the field Friday night, when UCLA fell 2-1 to California in its Pac-12 opener.
“It’s tough on momentum,” said junior defender Karina Rodriguez. “We had a loss at the beginning of conference last year, so starting out with a loss in Pac-12 is tough, but we just have to wipe it clean. Tomorrow is a new day, whether it’s a win or a loss. We get ready and focus on the Arizona games.”
UCLA dealt with a number of missing key players last year – including Micah, who sat out the Bruins’ first two Pac-12 games with a concussion. UCLA lost both matches, giving the Bruins their first-ever 0-2 conference record.
Micah has managed to stay healthy this year as the starting goalkeeper, averaging 87 minutes per game.
With the senior playing for the Australian national team this week, redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy will likely take her place in the net for UCLA. Brzykcy played in nine games as a redshirt freshman in 2018 and recorded 13 saves while allowing an average of 0.77 goals per game, earning her Pac-12 All-Freshman honors.
Micah said she knows what value she brings to the team, but is confident the Bruins can get the job done without her.
“I want to bring back my experience and work ethic and just try to lead the girls as best as possible when I return,” Micah said. “I’ll be thinking of them. I know they aren’t going to hold back while we’re gone, for sure. They’re going to unite and show Arizona what’s up, hopefully.”
Fleming also missed 11 games last season to play for the Canadian national team, during which UCLA went 7-3-1. In games where Fleming did play, the Bruins put up a 10-0-1 record.
Like Micah, Fleming has started every game this year and is second in minutes played with 806. The senior’s two goals and three assists also put her fourth in points for the Bruins.
Lowe will also join Micah in Australia. The freshman played 27 minutes against Cal and has appeared in six games overall this season. She is one of just two freshmen to score for UCLA this year, recording a goal and an assist so far.
Altogether, the trio has combined for 1772 minutes played this season. Now, Cromwell will have to redistribute that playing time as the Bruins try to avoid their first losing streak of the season.
“We have to get some momentum back, we don’t have it now,” Cromwell said. “We are definitely going to want to build our momentum this week, even with the girls that will be gone. This season, we are going to have to do what we can to get results, even with the setbacks that we encounter.”