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UCLA women’s soccer ties Utah in double overtime, remains undefeated

Redshirt senior forward Kennedy Faulknor scored her first goal of the season for No. 3 UCLA women’s soccer, but a quick response from Utah left the Bruins with a 1-1 draw at home Thursday. (Esther Ma/Daily Bruin)

Women's Soccer

No. 3 UCLA1

By Jay Fenn

Oct. 8, 2021 3:34 p.m.

Marley Canales had never missed a penalty kick in her career.

In the 99th minute, the graduate student midfielder lined up at the penalty spot with a chance to earn a walk-off win for the Bruins for the second straight game.

Canales couldn’t find the back of the net and a rebound attempt bounced off the post, as No. 3 UCLA women’s soccer (10-0-2, 2-0-2 Pac-12) remained undefeated with a 1-1 tie against Utah (5-5-3, 0-2-2) on Thursday night. The draw was the Bruins’ second of Pac-12 play, keeping them in fourth place in the conference.

“This stinks to get a tie at home,” said coach Amanda Cromwell. “We have to get the wins at home. … We lost two points tonight.”

The Bruins opened the match without junior forward Mia Fishel – the team’s leader in minutes and goals entering the day – for the first time all season, and Cromwell said UCLA couldn’t replace her Thursday.

“You don’t replace Mia,” Cromwell said. “We created a lot of chances. … Mia is a great finisher and she finishes one of those for sure.”

UCLA opened the match with a heavy press, applying pressure to Utah in its defensive half. Freshman forward Lexi Wright – making her second collegiate start – put two shots on frame in the 17th and 29th minutes, with the first one ricocheting off a defender and the second requiring a diving save by the Utah goalkeeper.

Cromwell said Wright – who made her collegiate debut just three weeks ago – has learned a lot this season and has excelled in her first few games with he team.

“(Lexi) is so dangerous,” Cromwell said. “She played great tonight and she’s learning a lot.”

In the 35th minute, redshirt senior forward Kennedy Faulknor was substituted on to make her fourth appearance of the year. Four minutes later, she scored her first goal of the season, converting on a free kick from freshman defender Quincy McMahon to put the Bruins up 1-0.

“I was just happy to be back on the field with my team from my injury,” Faulknor said. “We left a lot on the table, so we’re going to come back on Sunday and try to finish it out.”

But it did not take long for the Utes to respond. Midfielder Courtney Talbot beat senior goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy directly off a free kick outside the 18-yard box to tie the match at one goal apiece in the 41st minute. The goal was the sixth given up by the Bruins this year but the fifth in the last three games.

Besides the one Utah goal, UCLA had the majority of scoring opportunities in the first half, with six total shots and five shots on goal. Utah, on the other hand, was able to garner three shots in the half.

To open the second half, the Bruins came out firing. In the 53rd minute, Canales hit the right post, and 51 seconds later, senior midfielder Maricarmen Reyes fired a shot from far outside the 18-yard box that bounced off the crossbar.

The Bruins had two corner kicks in the final 30 seconds of regulation but failed to convert either, sending the match to overtime.

The Bruins earned a penalty kick for the first time all season in the 99th minute. Canales stepped up to take the shot, but had it blocked by the Utes’ goalkeeper. The follow-up shot bounced off the right post, and the game remained tied after the first overtime period.

Neither UCLA or Utah wound up finding the back of the net in the extra 20 minutes, giving the home team its second tie of the campaign.

After starting the season 8-0, the Bruins have now gone 2-0-2 in their past four matches, with a draw against Oregon and two one-goal wins before another tie Thursday night.

Redshirt junior midfielder Madelyn Desiano said the blue and gold have to come out ready every game because the Pac-12 is such a competitive conference.

“(The past four games) have been pretty intense,” Desiano said. “The Pac-12 is just super competitive from top to bottom. We are going to learn from this and will have to turn it around because our last half of Pac-12 is really tough.”

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Jay Fenn | Sports reporter
Fenn is currently a Sports reporter on the women's soccer beat. He was previously a contributor on the beach volleyball and men's and women's golf beats.
Fenn is currently a Sports reporter on the women's soccer beat. He was previously a contributor on the beach volleyball and men's and women's golf beats.
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