Women’s soccer to return home for 1st time since 2019, facing BYU and San Diego
Freshman midfielder Megan Edelman started in her No. 4 UCLA women’s soccer debut last week and played the second-most minutes of any Bruin field player. (Kanishka Mehra/Photo editor)
Friday, 5 p.m.
Wallis Annenberg Stadium
UCLA Live Stream
Tuesday, 2 p.m.
Wallis Annenberg Stadium
No TV info
Feb. 12, 2021 11:16 a.m.
UCLA women’s soccer was supposed to return to Wallis Annenberg Stadium on Feb. 4, but circumstances beyond its control pushed back that start date.
This weekend – after an eight-day delay – the Bruins will be back on their home pitch for the first time since Nov. 24, 2019, when they were on an eight-game home winning streak.
“Just being out on (Wallis Annenberg) for pregame practice, it had such a good vibe,” said coach Amanda Cromwell. “The field’s in such great shape. It’s like a putting green right now.”
No. 4 UCLA (1-0) will host No. 10 BYU (1-0) on Friday night followed up by another home game against San Diego on Tuesday. The match versus the Toreros was originally slated as the Bruins’ home opener but was postponed because San Diego didn’t have the minimum players required to compete.
Sophomore forward Mia Fishel said that even without fans able to attend, she’s looking forward to playing in Westwood on her home field after playing last week in Malibu.
“It’s a little tough not having fans there, but it’s always nice playing on a good field – Pepperdine’s field was not good,” Fishel said. “And I still know that our bench is going to keep up the tempo like when we do have fans there.”
Last season, No. 2-seeded BYU advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament before being eliminated in a 5-1 loss to No. 1-seeded Stanford – the same team UCLA then lost to 4-1 in the semifinals.
The Cougars will enter this weekend’s match following a 5-1 win over Utah, in which forward Cameron Tucker logged a hat trick in just 39 minutes played and earned West Coast Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors.
“As we saw in film today, BYU’s going to be a much stronger team than Pepperdine,” said freshman midfielder/forward Megan Edelman. “So, (I’m) focusing on playing fast, my first touch, knowing what I’m going to do when I get the ball just so I don’t mess up.”
Edelman was one of six members of the Bruins’ No. 1 recruiting class that saw minutes during Sunday’s game., as many returners are dealing with injuries.
Edelman said getting to start in that match and getting to win with her new teammates helped her feel more sure of herself heading into this weekend.
“Especially after all the girls that got injured, it just felt like I needed to step up to the plate,” Edelman said. “(Getting the start at Pepperdine) made me feel really happy and obviously boosted my confidence a lot.”
Senior defender Lucy Parker, who was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week, was the only UCLA field player to stay on the pitch for the entire 90 minutes Sunday. Eighteen total players saw the field in the match, and 13 contributed more than 30 minutes.
Cromwell said she plans to continue this heavy rotation throughout the spring to allow her players enough rest time after a 429-day offseason.
“Since we haven’t played multiple games in so long, it’s really about recovery,” Cromwell said. “We need all the bodies we have available, so we’re going to be using everybody.”
San Diego is coming off three straight seasons with losing records, and its last match against UCLA in 2016 ended in a 3-1 Bruin victory. None of the Toreros rostered players have ever competed against the Bruins.
The match against BYU will kick off at 5 p.m. on Friday, and Tuesday’s start time is set for 2 p.m.