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UCLA women’s soccer notches win behind 1st career goals for defender duo

Freshman defender Lilly Reale scored her first career goal Friday as No. 7 UCLA women’s soccer beat No. 24 Oregon State 4-1 to move into second place in the Pac-12 standings. (Christine Kao/Daily Bruin staff)

Women's Soccer

No. 7 UCLA4
No. 24 Oregon State1

By Jay Fenn

Oct. 16, 2021 4:35 p.m.

This post was updated Oct. 18 at 1:20 a.m.

Two Bruin defenders entered Friday’s game with zero career goals.

But both freshman Lilly Reale and junior Brianne Riley left Corvallis with one goal to each of their names.

Behind Reale and Riley’s first collegiate goals, No. 7 UCLA women’s soccer (12-0-2, 4-0-2 Pac-12) defeated No. 24 Oregon State (11-3-0, 3-3-0) by a score of 4-1 on the road Friday night. After going to overtime in each of their last three games, the Bruins jumped out to a 4-0 lead against the Beavers, tying a season-high goal total.

Graduate student midfielder Olivia Athens got the party started for UCLA in the ninth minute. After putting a shot over the crossbar in the fifth minute, Athens buried her third goal of the year four minutes later to put the blue and gold up 1-0.

In search of an equalizer, Oregon State tallied shots in the eighth and 14th minutes, the latter of which forced senior goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy to make a diving save to her right to prevent the Beavers from getting on the board.

Coming off the bench for the second time all season after starting 12 games at right back, Riley entered the game in the 27th minute. A minute later, the junior tapped in a rebound to put the Bruins up 2-0 with her first career goal.

Riley said the accomplishment was exciting, but it was even better to see her team earn a win against a ranked opponent.

“We all had the mindset that we needed to put it on them today,” Riley said. “Just being able to be one of those people getting a goal was exciting.”

The Bruins continued to create scoring opportunities in the first half as Athens broke free from the Beavers’ backline in the 30th minute and had her shot saved, with sophomore forward Reilyn Turner missing on the rebound attempt. However, one minute later, Turner headed in another rebound shot to add onto UCLA’s lead.

Down 3-0, Oregon State could not find an answer the rest of the first half, ending the half with two shots to UCLA’s 11. The Bruins put nine of their shots on frame, forcing Beaver goalkeeper Bridgette Skiba to make six saves in the half.

UCLA picked up right where it left off in the second half, notching a fourth score in the 55th minute courtesy of Reale’s first collegiate goal. The defender stole possession in the Beavers’ 18-yard box before making an inside move and beating Skiba on the near post.

“(Reale and Riley) were both awesome today,” said coach Amanda Cromwell. “(Riley) got our player of the game. She was awesome today defending and in the attack. Lilly really could have drawn another (penalty kick), and she’s just a dangerous player going forward.”

The Bruins were on pace to get their first shutout since Sept. 24, but saw the clean sheet slip away in the 89th minute when forward McKenna Martinez beat the UCLA defense to put Oregon State on the board.

Even though the blue and gold did not get the shutout, Reale said she was proud of how the backline performed today and all the adjustments it made to counter the Beavers’ attack.

“The defensive performance was awesome,” Reale said. “In terms of possession, all the defenders were really good at finding pockets and seeing what the other team was giving us.”

The three-goal win ties the Bruins’ largest margin of victory this season and moves them into second place in the Pac-12.

With just one game on the weekend slate, UCLA will have five days off before a matchup with Washington in Seattle.

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