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No. 1 UCLA women’s soccer to take on No. 14 USC in final match of conference play

Senior forward Sunshine Fontes leads the ball away from the opposing defense. Fontes is currently tied for leading scorer among the Bruins with nine goals this season. (Christine Kao/Daily Bruin staff)

Women's Soccer


No. 14 USC
Friday, 2 p.m.

McAlister Field
Pac-12 Networks

By Cecilia Schmitz

Nov. 3, 2022 5:21 p.m.

This post was updated Nov. 3 at 11:05 p.m.

The team that stands between the Bruins and the start of the NCAA tournament is their crosstown rival.

No. 1 UCLA women’s soccer (17-1-0, 9-1-0) will face off against No. 14 USC women’s soccer (11-2-3, 7-1-2) on Friday at McAlister Field in its last game of Pac-12 play.

The previous bout between the two teams was one year ago when both entered in search of the Pac-12 title. The blue and gold emerged victorious, scoring three goals to the Trojans’ one.

Prior to their 2021 contest, UCLA and USC were ranked No. 3 and No. 8, respectively. Now, the top-ranked Bruins will be facing the nation’s No. 14-ranked squad.

Still, senior forward Sunshine Fontes says the Bruins aren’t underestimating their opponents.

“Obviously, we’re going for the win, but other than that, we’re just going to go back to work this week and prepare, and we’re not going to take them lightly,” Fontes said. “So, just doing everything we can to prepare, recover and then just playing our game.”

The match will be the first true foray into the Los Angeles rivalry for Margueritte Aozasa, who is in her first year as the Bruins’ coach.

“We did face off in the spring, so I got a little taste of what it’s like, but obviously the regular season is a little different,” Aozasa said. “It’s going to be an exciting game, and we have a lot of respect for USC and what they’ve been doing this season.”

Following Sunday’s matchup against Washington that doubled as UCLA’s senior day, the soon-to-be latest edition will present a chance, if not the last, for the eight graduating Bruins to participate in the crosstown rivalry.

Fontes said the team is leaning into a bit of history to prepare for its last Pac-12 matchup.

“There’s always gonna be a rivalry when it’s ‘SC (USC), especially now that it’s one of our ex-assistant coaches who is the head coach just makes it that much better, ” Fontes said. “We’re just gonna go out and play our game and kind of just do our thing.”

Graduate student goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy said the competitive nature between the two teams creates excitement.

“It’s always a fun one for sure. They always put their best effort out there, but obviously we’re excited,” Brzykcy said. “It’s been six years or six plus since we’ve beat them in a row, so we’re gonna keep that streak going.”

Friday’s game will conclude the regular season for UCLA. Then, the NCAA tournament awaits.

Aozasa said the blue and gold is approaching this game as playoff preparation.

“It’s just kind of a dress rehearsal of sorts. It’s just good to go into that game putting a little bit of pressure on ourselves because it’s good to feel that a little bit before the actual playoffs start,” Aozasa said.

In addition to ending the conference schedule for the Bruins, Friday’s game will determine who earns the Pac-12 championship title. If UCLA and No. 7 Stanford, who defeated the blue and gold on Oct. 14, both remain undefeated after their Friday contests, the two teams will share the title.

The Bruins face off against the Trojans on Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. at McAlister Field.

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Cecilia Schmitz | Assistant Sports editor
Schmitz is a 2023-2024 assistant Sports editor on the women’s soccer, beach volleyball, women’s golf and cross country beats. She was previously a contributor on the women’s soccer and beach volleyball beats and a staffer for the Outreach section. She is also a third-year political science and communication student.
Schmitz is a 2023-2024 assistant Sports editor on the women’s soccer, beach volleyball, women’s golf and cross country beats. She was previously a contributor on the women’s soccer and beach volleyball beats and a staffer for the Outreach section. She is also a third-year political science and communication student.
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