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UCLA women’s soccer sustains 1st loss of season against No. 9 Stanford

Freshman midfielder Ally Lemos dribbles the ball down the field. Lemos collected two of the Bruins’ 17 shots Friday in their first loss of the season against the Cardinal. (Christine Kao/Daily Bruin staff)

Women’s Soccer

No. 1 UCLA0
No. 9 Stanford1

By Jay Fenn

Oct. 14, 2022 8:34 p.m.

This post was updated Oct. 16 at 10:11 p.m.

One year ago, Margueritte Aozasa was sitting on Stanford’s sideline as an assistant coach for the Cardinal.

Fast forward to Friday, when the first-year head coach led the undefeated Bruins into Palo Alto as the No. 1 ranked team in the country.

Aozasa was ultimately unable to best her former team as No. 1 UCLA women’s soccer’s (13-1-0, 5-1 Pac-12) clean record was tarnished with its first loss at the hands of No. 9 Stanford (12-2-1, 5-1). Up until Friday’s 1-0 loss, the Bruins were off to their best start in program history.

Graduate student defender Madelyn Desiano said the team is taking away a lot of lessons from Friday’s loss.

“The team right now is in a space where we’re very much like, ‘We’re going to learn from this, and we’re going to move on,’” Desiano said. “We respect Stanford, and we respect how they play. So if we were going to lose to anyone during conference play, this is a respectful team to lose to.”

Graduate student forward Ally Cook registered the first shot of the game via a header in the 14th minute. Cook’s shot on goal would be the only one UCLA would tally in the entire first half.

Stanford, on the other hand, registered three shots on goal in the first half, with the final one coming from defender Elise Evans off a corner kick to put the Cardinal up 1-0. The goal was the freshman’s second collegiate goal. This was the seventh time the Bruins were scored on all season.

Sophomore defender Lilly Reale said the Bruins need to improve their set piece defense after allowing another goal off one on Friday.

“Set pieces are tough because it’s all about the little details, and that’s something that we’ve been working on enormously as a team,” Reale said. “It was a little bit unfortunate, kind of fluke-type goal off of the set piece, but I think it is something that we can learn from.”

UCLA trailed for the first time since Sept. 23, when it was down 1-0 to California to start the game, but the Bruins ultimately defeated the Bears 4-2.

Stanford almost committed an own goal to get UCLA on the board in the 72nd minute, but Cardinal goalkeeper Ryan Campbell made the save. Two minutes later, UCLA senior forward Sunshine Fontes had a free kick outside the box, but sent the ensuing shot into the wall of Stanford defense.

In the 77th minute, graduate student midfielder Maricarmen Reyes fired a shot from outside the box, but Campbell leaped up and tipped the ball over the crossbar to maintain the shutout. Freshman midfielder Ally Lemos would have a shot of her own four minutes later, but this time, Campbell would dive to her right to record the save.

UCLA had an onslaught of shots to end the second half but could not find the equalizer. The Bruins would end the night with 17 shots compared to the Cardinal’s eight. Only four of the blue and gold’s shots were on goal, and Campbell – the reigning Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week – made all four saves.

Aozasa credited the Bruins’ second-half offensive turnaround to a change in their formation.

“We changed shapes, so we switched to a 3-5-2,” Aozasa said. “Obviously, when you have to chase the game, you have to put a little pressure and be more aggressive to goal, so that shape encourages that.”

UCLA will have five more Pac-12 games to close out the regular season, with the finale coming against No. 18 USC.

Aozasa said she was proud of her team’s response in the second half but wants the Bruins to learn from this loss.

“I also told the team, ‘You lose like this once a season,’” Aozasa said. “If we had to lose like this, I’ll take it right now rather than the playoffs.”

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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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