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UCLA women’s soccer lands 500th program win with Washington State triumph

Sophomore defender Lilly Reale eyes the ball to make her next move. Reale scored her second collegiate goal Thursday to help UCLA defeat Washington State. (Jeremy Chen/Assistant Photo editor)

Women's Soccer

Washington State0
No. 1 UCLA1

By Jay Fenn

Oct. 28, 2022 11:41 a.m.

It was a historic night in Westwood.

Behind a nail-biting 1-0 victory at Wallis Annenberg Stadium on Thursday night, No. 1 UCLA women’s soccer (16-1, 8-1 Pac-12) defeated Washington State (8-5-4, 2-4-3) and earned the 500th win in program history.

Coach Margueritte Aozasa said she was grateful to be part of such a prestigious club.

“There’s so few programs in the country that can say that, and I’m honored to have been a part of it,” Aozasa said.

The Bruins came out of the gates firing, registering eight shots in the first 20 minutes. Graduate student midfielder Maricarmen Reyes collected two of said shots herself, with both bouncing off the left goal post.

In the 32nd minute, freshman forward Bridgette Marin-Valencia launched a shot of her own that was saved by Cougars goalkeeper Nadia Cooper. In the final 13 minutes of the half, UCLA would only collect one shot, as it entered halftime against Washington State in a scoreless tie.

UCLA would open the second half in the same aggressive manner it began the game with, registering five shots within the first 16 minutes of the second frame.

Sophomore defender Lilly Reale would break the tie in the 62nd minute by firing a shot from well outside the box that bounced through Cooper’s hand to put the Bruins up 1-0.

Aozasa credited assistant coach Molly Poletto with speaking Reale’s goal into existence.

“We walked on the field during warmup, and she said to me, ‘Marg, I have a feeling Lilly’s going to score today,'” Aozasa said. “She said that to Lilly, so maybe it was in Lilly’s head that that was going to happen. And you know, when you take your chances, you hit the ball well, good things happened.”

The Bruins would get another opportunity to score after senior forward Kali Trevithick broke free from the Cougar defense in the 68th minute, but her ensuing shot was saved by Cooper.

Sophomore forward Lexi Wright would get a chance of her own to bring the score to 2-0 in the 85th minute, but her shot directly in front of the Cougar goal would, once again, be stopped by Cooper.

Washington State would get its best chance of the match in the 87th minute after forward Brianna McReynolds headed a ball that required graduate student goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy to make the save inches away from the goal line.

UCLA finished the match with 26 shots compared to Washington State’s six. Ten of those shots were on target, forcing Cooper to finish the match with eight saves – tying her career high.

Aozasa said the offense could have generated more shots and created better opportunities to score.

“Even 26 shots is probably not enough. There was a few times that we didn’t shoot when we had better chances,” Aozasa said. “Then just that focus, that professionalism in front of goal, we can continue to get better. Credit to Wazzu (Washington State). I thought they did a very good job defending in the box.”

UCLA also registered its 11th shutout of the season on Thursday, eclipsing last year’s mark.

Reale said her team keeps the same mentality going into every match.

“How can we keep that clean sheet?” Reale said. “That’s a big goal of ours, trying to deny those set pieces and crosses. We’ve been punished on some of those that we weren’t expecting, so it’s just how can we lock in for 90 minutes.”

The Bruins were without star junior forward Reilyn Turner on Thursday, who was left a little banged up from last week’s road trip, according to a team spokesperson. The junior is tied for the team lead in goals with nine.

Senior forward Sunshine Fontes said although playing without Turner creates a large void up front, she believes in her teammates to fill that role.

“Whether we’re with or without Reilyn, we have offensive firepower that can get the job done,” Fontes said. “We missed Reilyn tonight, but we got the job done.”

UCLA will return to the pitch Sunday at 2 p.m. when it will face off against Washington but not before honoring its seniors before the game at 1:30 p.m.

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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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