Women’s soccer to face Cal, Stanford on the road with Pac-12 title on the line
Freshman midfielder/forward Megan Edelman heads to her native Bay Area with the chance to grab her first goal with No. 4 UCLA women’s soccer in its two matches against California and Stanford. (Kanishka Mehra/Photo editor)
Friday, 12 p.m.
Cal Live Stream-2
Sunday, 2 p.m.
By Jacqueline Dzwonczyk
April 9, 2021 11:50 a.m.
The Bruins are three games away from a potential conference title, but this weekend they will face two teams that handed them three losses last season.
No. 4 UCLA women’s soccer (10-1-1, 7-1-0 Pac-12) will head to the Bay Area to take on California (5-4-1, 3-4-0) on Friday afternoon and reigning national champion Stanford (5-5-1, 4-3-0) on Sunday. The Bruins have yet to drop from the top of the Pac-12 standings and have just three games left in the regular season to maintain the spot in order to win the conference title.
“Pregame training (Thursday) was probably one of the best we’ve had all year,” said coach Amanda Cromwell. “I think they know we’re in the driver’s seat and control our destiny, and they’re excited to play these games.”
While UCLA’s record this year sets it above both California and Stanford, the Bruins ran an 0-3 record against the Bay Area teams during the 2019 season.
In its Pac-12 opener at home Sept. 27, 2019, the Golden Bears handed the Bruins a 2-1 defeat via an 88th-minute goal. UCLA’s only goal came on a penalty kick from then-junior midfielder Marley Canales.
“That totally fuels our fire for wanting to win this weekend,” said sophomore defender Kylie Kerr. “We’ve been doing really well and fixing all the little things in practice to hopefully score some goals this weekend.”
The Bruins fell twice to the Cardinal, first in a 1-0 regular-season loss at home and then in a 4-1 defeat in the semifinal of the NCAA Women’s College Cup, which ended UCLA’s season.
Stanford then went on to win the national championship game against North Carolina.
“To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best, and (Stanford) is the defending national champion,” Cromwell said.
Since their 2019 NCAA championship title, the Cardinal has lost midfielder Catarina Macario and forward Sophia Smith to professional opportunities elsewhere. Macario scored 32 goals during the 2019 season, and Smith added 17 – including a hat trick in the College Cup match against UCLA.
The Bruins also lost three regular starters, but they also reeled in the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation and returned a slew of players from injury. Of UCLA’s 26 goals this season, 18 have come from players who didn’t face Stanford at the 2019 College Cup, because they either were out with injuries or weren’t yet in the program.
Freshman midfielder/forward Megan Edelman, a Bay Area native with many former club teammates now rostered on California and Stanford, said her nerves for this weekend’s matchups are overcome by confidence in her months of training.
“A lot of the freshmen, we’re very nervous to play against these high-tier teams, but we’ve been training for so long,” Edelman said. “We’ve been training since August, and (California and Stanford) just started training in January, so I feel like we have an upper hand there.”
Kickoff times will be at noon on Friday at California and 2 p.m. on Sunday at Stanford.