New players continue to add value as women’s soccer progresses through playoffs
Freshman forward Mia Fishel leads No. 2 seed UCLA with 12 goals this season, three of which she scored in the most recent two postseason games. With two assists, Fishel is also second on the roster with 26 points, behind junior forward Ashley Sanchez. (Alice Naland/Daily Bruin staff)
Nov. 25, 2019 11:38 p.m.
The Bruins’ new players have continued to make an impact.
No. 2 seed UCLA women’s soccer (17-4-1, 8-3 Pac-12) has received contributions from freshman forward Mia Fishel and junior transfer defender Lucy Parker, both of whom joined the team this year and cracked into the regular starting lineup back in August.
The additions of Fishel and Parker have helped the Bruins continue where they left off last season, as UCLA has matched last year’s win total and earned a bid to the NCAA quarterfinals for the third consecutive season with a 2-0 win over No. 3 seed Wisconsin (16-4-2, 10-0-1 Big Ten) on Sunday.
Fishel has started 18 of 22 games and leads the Bruins with 12 goals – the most by a UCLA freshman since Lauren Cheney set the school record with 19 in 2006. Fishel’s .185 shot percentage is also good for fourth-highest on the team.
“I’m put in a position to try to get my team up a goal and it’s just all about the team,” Fishel said. “Our buildup is so good that it just makes me want to focus more on scoring for this team.”
Fishel’s high-volume scoring has continued into the NCAA tournament, with three goals scored in three playoff games.
After missing all five of her shots against Lamar in UCLA’s postseason opener, Fishel tallied a pair of goals against Clemson and broke a scoreless tie in the second half against Wisconsin.
“I don’t remember it,” Fishel said of her game-winner against the Badgers. “It was quick in the box. I just remember taking a touch around the goalkeeper and kicking it as hard as I could.”
At the other end of the field, Parker has started every game at center back for the Bruins and leads UCLA with 1,880 minutes played. The Bruins have held opponents to just seven shots per game with Parker in the lineup, their lowest mark since 2014.
UCLA’s defense has earned 12 clean sheets this year, including a pair of shutout victories in the second and third rounds of the playoffs.
“(Parker) and our whole backline are asked to do a lot on both sides of the ball,” said coach Amanda Cromwell. “Limiting those shots and getting those shutouts is huge.”
Parker has also found ways to contribute on offense, tallying four goals overall and three in her last five games. The junior transfer notched her first goal of the postseason against the Tigers, scoring a header off a corner kick for the third time this season. At 5 feet, 8 inches, Parker is one of the taller players on the team and a mainstay for the Bruins on set pieces.
A number of other fresh faces – including freshman forward Kali Trevithick – have recently stepped up for UCLA as well. After missing over two months of the regular season with an injury, Trevithick has scored two goals and notched one assist off the bench in the playoffs.
Junior midfielder Viviana Villacorta said every player, old and new, has played a role in helping the Bruins reach this point.
“I think our recruits and everyone else that has come have been great,” Villacorta said. “Our bench is so deep, and I feel like whenever someone comes on, they just add this amazing energy.”