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Women’s soccer finishes road trip with 5th shutout of season in win against Utah

Freshman forward Reilyn Turner provided the offense for No. 3 UCLA women’s soccer in its 2-0 win over Utah on Sunday. (Kanishka Mehra/Photo editor)

Women's Soccer

No. 3 UCLA2

By Diego Farinha

March 15, 2021 3:14 p.m.

For the second time on the road trip, one goal proved to be enough for the Bruins.

No. 3 UCLA women’s soccer (8-0-0, 5-0-0 Pac-12) capped off its weekend away from Westwood with a 2-0 win against Utah (2-5-2, 1-3-1) at Ute Field in Salt Lake City on Sunday afternoon. The shutout was the fifth of the season amid the eight-game winning streak to start the year.

“We have really good team defense,” said coach Amanda Cromwell. “The whole group is locked in about what our shape is, our plan and how we want to press (the opponent) or trap them. (Senior midfielder) Marley Canales and our backline have been fantastic. (Redshirt junior goalkeeper) Lauren (Brzykcy) is so sure in commanding her area and makes big saves when she needs to.”

The victories versus Utah and Colorado came without senior defender Lucy Parker, who had played every minute of the season before exiting against Oregon State on March 7 because of injury. Freshman midfielder Michaela Rosenbaum has rotated on defense throughout the season and she played every minute of the road trip.

“With Parker being out, we had a switch on the backline,” Rosenbaum said. “We’re just having so much fun playing out there, and we’re all so comfortable to play around each other no matter who comes in or who comes out. So far it’s been a lot of fun, and I’m really excited to continue playing and win hopefully.”

The match began as a standstill as neither team managed a shot in the first 20 minutes. In the 24th minute, the Utes unsuccessfully tested Brzykcy for the first time on a strike from forward Brooklyn James. The save was one of three for Brzykcy on the afternoon, bringing her season total to 26.

For the Bruins, their first shot attempt in the 33rd minute resulted in the game’s first goal. Shortly after subbing in, freshman forward Kaila Novak delivered a left-footed cross into the box for freshman forward Reilyn Turner to roll past Ute goalkeeper Chelsea Peterson for her third goal of the season.

The goal marked the sixth consecutive contest in which the blue and gold was the first team on the scoresheet, with each opening goal occurring in the first half.

“Every game we go in and we say, ‘Score early and score often,’” Turner said. “I think the first goal fires us up and keeps us going. Especially in games where the energy maybe isn’t as high, we get that first goal and then all of our confidence rises and we play better soccer.”

UCLA’s following three shots in the first half came only from freshmen as Novak, Rosenbaum and redshirt freshman forward Sunshine Fontes all had cracks at a goal. The trend continued into the second half as all 12 shots in the game from the Bruins, nine on target, came off the feet of freshmen.

“We’re all so close, and that’s what I love about our class,” Rosenbaum said. “Coming in we just clicked, and we got along so well. Getting to play with them on the field is a lot of fun and same with off the field, we’re all so comfortable and close with each other. So on the field, it’s so easy to play with each other.”

In the 61st minute, Turner nearly doubled the lead and her daily tally after receiving a cross from Fontes, but a heavy touch enabled Peterson to close in and make the save. Three minutes later, Fontes fed Turner again with a cross at the back post which the latter was able to head off of the post and into the back of the net to secure a brace.

Cromwell said she enjoyed seeing the performance from the freshmen.

“It’s fun watching them play with freedom and a lot of creativity,” Cromwell said. “They play with no fear. (Turner) obviously today with two goals – she could have had a hat trick. Other players were pushing to get (a goal) as well. The freshmen have made a huge impact.”

UCLA has three days off before taking on crosstown rival USC on Thursday for a nonconference fixture at Wallis Annenberg Stadium.

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Diego Farinha | Sports staff
Farinha is currently a Sports staffer on the softball beat. He was previously a reporter on the women's soccer beat.
Farinha is currently a Sports staffer on the softball beat. He was previously a reporter on the women's soccer beat.
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