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UCLA women’s soccer remains undefeated after victory over Duke

Junior forward Reilyn Turner dribbles the ball through the defense. Turner scored the Bruins game-winning goal in Thursday’s match against Duke. (Eden Yu/Daily Bruin)

Women's Soccer

No. 3 UCLA2
No. 2 Duke1

By Jay Fenn

Sept. 2, 2022 5:48 p.m.

In a battle between two of the highest-ranked teams in the country, the Bruins’ emerged on top.

No. 3 UCLA women’s soccer (4-0) defeated No. 2 Duke (4-1) 2-1 Thursday in Durham, North Carolina to clinch its first victory over a top-two opponent since 2019. The victory came off the foot of junior forward Reilyn Turner, who logged the game-winning goal, and the gloves of graduate student goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy, who tied her career-high in saves.

Brzykcy said big wins, such as the one Thursday, come for a reason.

“We’ve just been working so hard,” Brzykcy said. “We have our new coaching staff and I feel like we’re just growing with them.

The Bruins began the scoring early after Turner corralled a cross from sophomore forward Lexi Wright, but was pulled down in front of the goal that earned her a penalty kick. Sophomore defender Jayden Perry stepped up and drilled the shot into the left corner to put the blue and gold up 1-0 and log her first collegiate goal.

Although coach Margueritte Aozasa said she was surprised Perry stepped up to take the penalty shot, Turner was not.

“She (Perry) was confident, we all had trust in her and she drilled it home,” Turner said. “That was her chance to show not only our team, but the fans, the other team and the country what she’s made of. I’m just so proud of her.”

Duke would even the score before halftime, after forward Michelle Cooper – 2021’s National Freshman of the Year – buried a cross into the back of the net. The goal was the first score allowed by UCLA all season.

Brzykcy said despite Cooper’s single goal, she believed the Bruins succeeded in containing the forward.

“Our backline killed it, they were able to contain her,” Brzykcy said. “We had a really good scouting report on what to look for.”

UCLA would retake the lead in the 62nd minute via Turner’s first goal of the season. The 2020 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year took a pass from sophomore defender Quincy McMahon and fired the eventual game-winning goal into the back of the net.

Brzykcy denied the Blue Devils an equalizer this time. The goalkeeper logged seven saves in the second half en route to a nine save performance.

Before the match, Aozasa shared she made a very last-minute formation switch, one that she hoped would counter Duke. UCLA had run a 4-3-3 in every game this season up to Thursday, but with just one day of practice, the first-year coach switched to a 3-5-2 formation.

Aozasa said she was proud of the team for believing in the coaching staff and executing the changes they made.

“We mostly just ask them (the team) to trust us and they did,” Aozasa said. “Now they can see what they’re capable of when everyone just takes that leap of faith and really works together.”

UCLA will have two days off before it faces No. 1 North Carolina on Sunday, where it has a chance to end a road trip with victories over the two top teams in the nation.

Brzykcy said a victory such as Thursday’s gives the Bruins a huge morale boost going into Sunday.

“We are just so thrilled and pumped, we just now have even more confidence going into this next game,” Brzykcy said. “We’re super excited to play UNC, so it’ll be fun to see that matchup as well.”

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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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