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No. 1 UCLA women’s soccer beats Pepperdine, enters Pac-12 schedule undefeated

Junior foward/midfielder MacKenzee Vance dribbles the ball down the field. Vance scored her first collegiate goal Sunday in Malibu. (Eden Yu/Daily Bruin)

Women's Soccer


No. 1 UCLA4
No. 9 Pepperdine0

By Grace Whitaker

Sept. 19, 2022 12:28 p.m.

The Bruins already held a 3-0 lead at the hands of their top-three scorers with five minutes remaining.

Then, forward/midfielder MacKenzee Vance gathered the ball in her possession and, with no goalie in sight, headed for the goal.

The junior – who missed the entirety of the 2020 and 2021 seasons because of knee injuries – shot the ball and swept the back of the net to confirm that Pepperdine would wave goodbye to its undefeated record.

“I was just overwhelmed with emotion just because it’s been two years too long since I’ve been back,” Vance said. “It’s just such a great feeling to be back with the team and be part of it all.”

No. 1 UCLA women’s soccer (8-0) defeated No. 9 Pepperdine (6-1-2) by a score of 4-0 on Sunday in Malibu. The blue and gold will enter its Pac-12 schedule with an undefeated record and the top-ranked spot in the nation.

Junior forward Reilyn Turner said she was happy to witness Vance’s success and comeback from her injury.

“Her (Vance) playing in a position she doesn’t normally play in and making that big of an impact going in the last 10 minutes, it shows not only her but the team and the coaches and the country that Mac is back,” Turner said.

UCLA outpossessed Pepperdine throughout the contest, collecting 20 shots compared to Pepperdine’s eight and 13 shots on goal opposed to the Waves’ four.

During the 18th minute of the first half, Turner began the scoring by finding the back of the net off a header. The Waves had an opportunity for an equalizing goal in the 31st minute but the ball cruised through the air and contacted the crossbar, maintaining the Bruins’ lead.

Coach Margueritte Aozasa said she was proud of how her team took advantage of its shots this game compared to the two goals on 31 shots the Bruins had during their last match.

“I was just really proud of us for putting away so many chances,” Aozasa said. “Hopefully that will translate going into conference play because we know as we go into conference play we may not get 25 shots, we may not get 30 shots, so it’s really about taking care of business with the chances we do get.”

The game was scoreless for the next 43 minutes until sophomore forward Lexi Wright doubled the Bruins’ lead by collecting a third goal for the Bruins off an assist from freshman forward Bridgette Marin-Valencia. Eighteen minutes later, senior forward Sunshine Fontes brought the blue and gold’s score to three off an assist from graduate student defender Madelyn Desiano.

UCLA’s 4-0 shutout was completed by the goal from Vance to ensure the Bruins an undefeated record going into conference play.

Aozasa said beginning the conference after having defeated three top-10 teams in the nonconference slate is an encouraging feat.

“It’s huge for our confidence, mostly because it gives us some validation that what we’re doing is preparing us to play at a really high level and preparing us to play against a lot of different types of opponents,” Aozasa said.

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Grace Whitaker | Assistant Sports editor
Whitaker is currently an assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, women's soccer, beach volleyball and cross country beats. She was previously a contributor on the women's basketball and beach volleyball beats.
Whitaker is currently an assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, women's soccer, beach volleyball and cross country beats. She was previously a contributor on the women's basketball and beach volleyball beats.
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