Women’s soccer heads to Stanford with chance to avenge yearslong losing streak
Junior defender Delanie Sheehan has started every game for No. 16 UCLA women’s soccer this season. As a former forward, Sheehan has contributed one goal and two assists from the backline through 13 games this year. (Joy Hong/Daily Bruin senior staff)
Saturday, 7 p.m.
By Cassidy Hunt
Oct. 18, 2019 12:52 am
The last time the Bruins faced a team ranked above them was Aug. 29, when UCLA upset then-No. 1 Florida State.
This week, the Bruins will have another shot at a top-five upset – and this time it’s in-conference.
No. 16 UCLA women’s soccer (9-3-1, 3-2 Pac-12) will face No. 2 Stanford (12-1-0, 5-0) on the road Saturday night. The Bruins have not topped the Cardinal in five matches since 2014.
“In the Pac-12, it’s always all about Stanford,” said junior midfielder Viviana Villacorta. “But, when we play soccer, it’s really good. Our style of play is composed and it’s quick. We are confident that we are better than Stanford, we just need to show it and bring it on out on the field.”
Stanford’s only loss this season has been to unranked Pepperdine in September. The Bruins posted a tie against the Waves in the same week.
So far this season, UCLA has suffered its only losses and single tie to unranked teams, and have defeated each of their ranked opponents.
Coach Amanda Cromwell said UCLA plays better against high-performing teams because the Bruins share their opponents’ style on the field.
“When teams play similar to us, it tends to be a better game for us,” Cromwell said. “We get in a good rhythm. It’s not disruptive, it’s not ugly, it’s not combative. That’s not to say it won’t be a physical game, but both teams play a beautiful game. … It comes down to who’s going to be the best in the moment.”
Stanford leads the nation in overall points recorded, with 152 total and an average of 11.69 per game. UCLA comes in tied for 37th with 79 points and 6.08 per game.
Cardinal forward Catarina Macario also leads the nation in goals scored, with 18 in 13 games — giving her an average of 1.38 goals per match.
The Bruins’ highest-scoring player, freshman forward Mia Fishel, has scored 7 goals in 13 games.
Villacorta said that UCLA has studied Macario and is preparing to combat the entire Cardinal offensive line.
“We know that (Macario) is a force on the field,” Villacorta said. “All of their forwards are very athletic and very technical. We’re adjusting, but it’s not something we don’t already know. We’ve seen them before, we’re just tweaking a little bit, trying to come out in the best formation with the best energy.”
Cromwell said the Bruins have had extra time to prepare for the Cardinal because they only have one game on their schedule this weekend.
“The best thing about having only one game is you have more practice opportunities,” Cromwell said. “We get to work on the things we really needed to. (We) got to do more video and more training sessions. It allows us to taper more into a game, so we will feel like we’ve covered everything.”
Stanford fell in the 2018 NCAA semifinals to Florida State and beat UCLA in the 2017 national championship match.
Junior defender Delanie Sheehan said she feels confident the Bruins have put in the work and will be ready to take on the Cardinal on Saturday.
“We know what they’re capable of, but we also know what we’re capable of,” Sheehan said. “So, we are going to go out and give them our best game, keep the pedal down, and once we put one away, our mentality is going to be to go get another one.”
Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. in Stanford.