Women’s soccer secures win over Pepperdine in first game of season
Playing in her first collegiate game, freshman forward Reilyn Turner scored No. 4 UCLA women’s soccer’s second goal in an eventual 3-0 win to open the 2021 season. (Kanishka Mehra/Photo editor)
|No. 4 UCLA||3|
|No. 25 Pepperdine||0|
Feb. 7, 2021 6:51 p.m.
Last year’s leading goal scorer got things started for the Bruins, but it was two players who had never before logged a collegiate goal who finished it off.
No. 4 UCLA women’s soccer (1-0) opened its season with a 3-0 win over No. 25 Pepperdine (0-1) on Sunday. Sophomore forward Mia Fishel logged her 15th career goal to open the scoring, followed by first-ever goals from freshman forward Reilyn Turner and redshirt senior defender Jacey Pederson.
“There were some nerves at the beginning,” Turner said. “But when I saw everyone running at me (after I scored), it was awesome … best feeling ever.”
Turner’s 22nd-minute score – a backheel flick over the Waves’ goalkeeper – came in her first game as a Bruin. Pederson’s back-post finish came during her fifth year in Westwood after she sat out the 2019 season with an injury.
While Turner and Pederson’s names are on the box score, many other Bruins accomplished similar feats in Sunday’s opener.
Turner was one of six freshmen who made their debut, which included forward Megan Edelman who started alongside Turner. Pederson was one of four players returning to the pitch from injury. Another was senior midfielder Marley Canales, who contributed all three of UCLA’s assists.
“Talk about a team effort,” said coach Amanda Cromwell. “(Turner and Edelman) getting the start is huge, and (Pederson and Canales) coming back, it just awesome to see them out there. Giving my pregame talk, I had to take a second because I found myself getting emotional.”
Canales was joined by seniors Delanie Sheehan and Olivia Athens in the center midfield. Sheehan previously started as an outside back, and Athens played just four games in 2019 before sustaining an injury.
Senior defenders Karina Rodriguez and Lucy Parker took their usual spots as center backs, while new outside backs Pederson and sophomore defender Brianne Riley rounded out the backline.
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy, who has spent her career as second-string behind recently graduated Teagan Micah, made her 13th start for the Bruins, logging her fifth solo shutout and a career-high seven saves.
“This is what this season’s going to look like – using a lot of players because we haven’t played in over a year, and no one’s used to playing 90 minutes,” Cromwell said.
Canales, who logged three goals and four assists in 13 starts last season before her injury, said she was nervous before today’s game. She also said having so many of her senior teammates in the same boat helped her push through.
“I had a lot of different emotions today of nerves and excitement and a lot of nostalgic thoughts because it’s taken a lot to get back on this field,” Canales said. “It has been a while since we’ve all played together … But just being a senior class, we know that we have to set the example, and I thought that we did that.”
The Bruins waited 429 days for their first game back since the pandemic. Now, UCLA will have just four days off before taking on BYU.