Lucy Parker once again jogged her way upfield from her position in the backline for a corner kick. And, once again, the junior’s head found the ball.
But this time, it went in.
The corner kick from junior midfielder Marley Canales sailed to the far post, where junior forward Kennedy Faulknor was waiting, ready to redirect the ball to Parker, who scored her first goal of the regular season after transferring from LSU in June.
The goal was one of seven corner kicks for No. 22 UCLA women’s soccer (8-3-1, 2-2-0 Pac-12) in its 3-0 win over Colorado (9-3-1, 1-2-1) at Wallis Annenberg Stadium on Thursday evening. The Bruins have averaged more than seven corner kicks over 12 games this season but have only capitalized on two – one of them being Parker’s goal against the Buffaloes.
“It was something that’s kind of been bothering us for a while, and honestly the average of seven seems low,” Parker said. “It’s been on my mind a lot. … It felt really great (to score on a corner kick).”
UCLA went into halftime with a 1-0 lead after Parker’s 25th-minute goal. The Bruins outshot the Buffaloes 12-1 in the first half and earned six corner kicks without conceding one to the Buffaloes.
In the second half, UCLA’s two leading goal-scorers – freshman forward Mia Fishel and junior forward Ashley Sanchez – got going.
Fishel hadn’t scored a goal in the past three games before Thursday, and Sanchez had also been on a three-game scoring drought before notching a goal against Arizona State on Sunday.
“It was kind of overwhelming. I’ve been training really hard trying to get my rhythm back,” Fishel said. “I was just happy I could score for this team.”
In the 53rd minute, senior midfielder Jessie Fleming ran down the left flank to get on the end of a slip pass from junior midfielder Viviana Villacorta. Fleming crossed the ball with one touch, finding Fishel on the run as she split two Buffalo defenders.
Due to her participation in the Candadian national team camp, Fleming missed the Bruins’ matches last weekend against Arizona and Arizona State, in which UCLA went 1-1. Fishel said having the four-year starter back in the lineup helped the Bruins maintain possession.
“The team really trusts (Fleming) to keep the ball and set the rhythm for the team,” Fishel said. “She sets the tempo on the field.”
The score stayed locked at 2-0 for half an hour before the Bruins found the back of the net again, when Parker sent a long ball in the air from the right midfield in the 84th minute.
As Sanchez sprinted toward the far post, she lunged to extend her right foot in time to catch the ball right before it hit the ground. The volley found the right side of the goal frame to seal the game at 3-0.
“It’s great for their confidence, getting (Fishel and Sanchez) real goals,” said coach Amanda Cromwell. “The movement was really good tonight, the spacing was excellent and we were really tough to defend.”
UCLA will next host Utah on Sunday at 1 p.m.