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Women’s soccer secures comeback overtime win against Arizona State

After No. 3 UCLA women’s soccer fell behind 3-1 and subsequently equalized at three goals apiece against Arizona State, graduate student midfielder Olivia Athens scored the game-winner for the Bruins in overtime. (Harold Lee/Daily Bruin)

Women's Soccer

No. 3 UCLA4
Arizona State3

By Diego Farinha

Oct. 4, 2021 12:44 a.m.

Opponents had scored two goals against the Bruins in the first 920 minutes of their season.

The Sun Devils eclipsed that mark in less than 24 minutes, and yet it wasn’t enough to beat the blue and gold for the second time in the calendar year.

Following a six-goal first half that saw the two squads tied at three goals each, No. 3 UCLA women’s soccer (10-0-1, 2-0-1 Pac-12) ultimately came back from a 3-1 deficit to down Arizona State (8-3-1, 0-2-1) by a score of 4-3 in overtime Sunday in Tempe. Graduate student midfielder Olivia Athens pounced on a cross in the Sun Devils’ box in the 96th minute and put the ball into the back of the net, walking it off for the Bruins’ 10th win of the season.

“We definitely are a resilient team,” said coach Amanda Cromwell. “We’re gritty. It was good to be pushed like this. This is the first game we’ve had to come from behind. It’s important to get these wins on the road in the conference.”

Junior forward Mia Fishel got the scoring started in the game, tapping the ball into an empty net in the sixth minute. A cross from sophomore midfielder Michaela Rosenbaum was flicked by senior midfielder Maricarmen Reyes to the feet of Fishel, who recorded her team-leading ninth goal of the season.

Arizona State – which averaged 2.55 goals per game coming into the fixture – answered UCLA’s opening score with a set piece delivery from midfielder Eva van Deursen, which found the head of midfielder Jazmine Wilkinson to equalize the score at one a piece.

Less than two minutes later, forward Nicole Douglas, the country’s leader in points entering the week, dribbled herself into the box before dispatching a left-footed shot past senior goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy, giving the Sun Devils a lead and handing the Bruins their first deficit of the season.

On Arizona State’s third score in 14 minutes, van Deursen and Douglas played a give-and-go atop the 18-yard box, and upon receiving the ball back from her forward, the former found the corner of the net and gave her team a two-score lead in the 24th minute.

“I need to go back and watch (the first half) again, it was a blur,” Cromwell said. “We scored a goal. I thought that we were playing pretty well, had control of possession and then got out of the run of play. They scored three goals in a matter of minutes. … We were careless in our defensive third, and they’re a really good team that can punish you for that.”

The blue and gold delivered a quick response to the Sun Devils, scoring in the 29th and 30th minutes to tie the match at 3-3.

The two goals off set pieces came in a span of 48 seconds. The first came off a corner kick by graduate student midfielder Marley Canales, which deflected off Arizona State’s goalkeeper Birta Gudlaugs into the net for an own goal. The goal marked the third score coming from Canales’ corners on the road trip.

The sixth goal of the half originated from a set piece near midfield taken by freshman defender Lilly Reale. Her delivery eventually bounced off the post and to the feet of sophomore midfielder Dasia Torbert, who entered the game just in time to record her first collegiate goal.

Despite scoring three goals, the half marked the first time the Bruins have conceded three goals in a match since Dec. 6, 2019, in a 4-1 loss to Stanford.

“It was definitely something we’re new to,” Torbert said. “We don’t usually give up goals like that, and so coming off the bench, I think we knew what we had to do and what we had to bring to the game. I’m just glad we didn’t let up and we kept on pushing.”

The second half continued as an offensive affair, with the Bruins tallying 14 more shots in the second 45 minutes while the Sun Devils added five. Neither team was able to provide the same finishing touches as they did in the first half, however, sending the game to overtime.

And just like the first half, the Bruins only needed six minutes of the period to get on the board. A cross from freshman defender Quincy McMahon on the right flank found Athens on the back post waiting to send in the winning goal.

“I just wanted to be there just in case anything happened,” Athens said. “The keeper made a mistake and then (freshman forward Lexi Wright) was there, and then I was kind of the man open, so I just focused and tried to put it in the back of the net, and thankfully, it went in and we got to go home.”

UCLA will return to Westwood still undefeated as it continues conference play against Utah on Thursday.

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