The Bruins have dropped their opening two conference matches for the second consecutive year.
No. 16 UCLA women’s soccer (6-3-1, 0-2 Pac-12) lost 3-0 to Arizona (7-2-0, 1-1) on the road Thursday night, less than a week after falling 2-1 to California at home. The Bruins haven’t lost to the Wildcats in 17 matchups prior to this year.
“I think we need to start better,” said coach Amanda Cromwell. “We had a really sluggish, slow first half, and we continue to give up soft goals. Other teams just seem to care more right now as far as their effort and their presence.”
UCLA got off to an 0-2 conference start last season with losses to then-No. 14 Washington State and then-No. 1 Stanford. Both matches were played without then-junior goalkeeper Teagan Micah – who was out with an injury – and then-junior midfielder Jessie Fleming, who was competing in World Cup qualifiers with the Canadian national team.
Against Arizona this year, the Bruins were without Micah and Fleming, as well as freshman midfielder Rachel Lowe – all three players received calls up to their respective national teams.
“Every time a sub comes on, they prove to themselves and everyone else that they’re making a difference,” said junior midfielder Viviana Villacorta. “They played their hearts out today, but it just wasn’t the results we wanted.”
In Micah’s absence, redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy got the start for UCLA and came up with a diving save early in the 21st minute to keep the score locked at 0-0.
But about seven minutes later, Arizona forward Jada Talley put the Wildcats on the board with a 1-0 lead that they would take into halftime.
“I feel like I was just reacting strongly and was there for my team when I needed to be,” Brzykcy said. “I was just keeping my mentality to one shot at a time.”
Arizona went up 2-0 in the 68th minute on a long shot from forward Brooke Wilson, and Talley added one more to seal the deal in the 85th minute.
Brzykcy made her second one-on-one save of the night in the 73rd minute, and finished the game with four saves, despite UCLA conceding more goals in a single game than it had all season.
“(Brzykcy) was great,” Cromwell said. “She didn’t deserve to have three goals against her – she had a nice punch on a corner kick, she made a great save on a point-blank shot. She deserved better for sure.”
The Bruins finished the game with 11 shots and five corners, in comparison to 17 shots and 16 corners against the Golden Bears.
Cromwell said UCLA’s lack of simple passes and abundance of turnovers led to a lack of scoring opportunities against Arizona.
“We didn’t create as much as we needed to,” Cromwell said. “It wasn’t like the (California) game, where we created so many chances. It was more about when we got behind, we lost our composure.”
UCLA will finish out its trip to Arizona with a match against Arizona State on Sunday at 1 p.m.