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Women’s soccer stays right as rain, maintains away game winning streak

Junior forward Mia Fishel notched her second brace of the season as No. 8 UCLA women’s soccer beat Washington in Seattle on Thursday to remain perfect on the road this season. (Esther Ma/Daily Bruin)

Women's Soccer

No. 8 UCLA3

By Jay Fenn

Oct. 22, 2021 3:45 p.m.

The forecast read rain, but the final score read Bruins.

No. 8 UCLA women’s soccer (13-0-2, 5-0-2 Pac-12) overcame a downpour in Seattle to take down Washington (4-7-3, 2-3-2) by a score of 3-1 on Thursday night. All three of the Bruins’ goals came off the feet of their top two scorers – sophomore forward Reilyn Turner and junior forward Mia Fishel – who both found the back of the net in the same game for the fourth time this season.

Rain poured down onto the pitch for the entire 90 minutes, which is not something the blue and gold is accustomed to seeing in Westwood. Coach Amanda Cromwell said the showers definitely played a factor in the game.

“(The rain) was pretty big in the second half and puddles started to form and it affected the ability to really play soccer the way we wanted to play,” Cromwell said. “In the second half we created some really good opportunities, but it’s hard when it rained that hard for that long.”

UCLA struck early with a 12th-minute goal by Turner, her ninth of the season. Turner chased down a feed from Fishel, evading a Washington defender before earning possession and burying a shot into the top of the net. The forward’s goal marked the second game in a row the Bruins scored in the first 12 minutes of the match.

Washington stayed on the attack in search of an equalizer, as a shot on frame in the 16th minute bounced off senior goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy’s hands and went out of play. The ensuing corner for the Huskies was headed just over the crossbar to keep the score at 1-0.

UCLA would add an insurance goal prior to the first-half whistle with Fishel converting on a penalty kick in the 31st minute after a handball by a Washington defender. The goal was the junior forward’s 10th of the year, which moves her into sole possession of second place on the Pac-12 individual scoring leaderboard.

Fishel – who has yet to take a penalty kick this year – said she knew right away that she was going to be the one on her team to step up and take the shot.

“I was just in the flow of the game and felt like as a captain I should step up,” Fishel said. “That (penalty kick) was crucial and I didn’t want to give it to anyone else.”

After Fishel buried the attempt, she flashed a thumbs up to the Bruins’ bench, which she said represented a message of gratitude to her teammates for always putting their trust in her to step up in big spots.

Despite the 2-0 lead heading into halftime, the Bruins trailed the Huskies in both shots and shots on goal.

Washington added more scoring opportunities in the second half, but could not capitalize. Junior defender Kylie Kerr made a goal-saving steal in the 60th minute before Husky forward Ruby Hellstrom could take advantage of a 1-on-1 opportunity with Brzykcy.

However, the Huskies were able to get on the scoreboard in the 75th minute off their sixth corner kick of the match, with the ball bouncing around in the 18-yard box before it was tapped into the net.

Thursday’s contest was the third straight game wherein Bruins have given up a goal after holding opponents scoreless for the first 70-plus minutes, but Brzykcy – who made eight saves during the evening – said the late goals are insignificant as long as her team gets the win.

“A win’s a win at this point, especially at the end like this,” Brzykcy said. “There’s no extra point for getting the shutout – the points come from winning.”

UCLA answered back to Washington’s score less than two minutes later. Sophomore forward Kaila Novak crossed a ball into the box that found Fishel’s right foot before gravity could bring it back down to the ground. With one touch, Fishel gave the Bruins a 3-1 advantage.

After finding the back of the net, Fishel found the nearest puddle and dove towards the corner in celebration of her second brace of the season. Fishel said the celebration reminded her how lucky she is to play with her friends every game.

“(The celebration) brought me back to my old club games,” Fishel said. “Playing in the rain with your friends is just so much fun. The more you have fun and the more you feel free, the better you’re going to play.”

The victory keeps UCLA in second place in the Pac-12 standings, but with No. 5 USC drawing with Washington State, the Bruins are now two points back of the Trojans.

The blue and gold will head to Pullman on Sunday to take on fourth-place Washington State.

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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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