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UCLA women’s soccer conquers North Carolina for national championship No. 120

The UCLA women’s soccer team celebrates. The Bruins won their second national championship in program history Monday after defeating North Carolina. (Christine Kao/Daily Bruin staff)

Women’s soccer


No. 2 seed North Carolina2
No. 1 seed UCLA3

By Jay Fenn

Dec. 5, 2022 6:39 p.m.

This post was updated Dec. 5 at 8:38 p.m.

CARY, N.C. — With less than a minute left, it looked like the blue and gold would fall short in the national championship.

However, on the final play of regulation, one Bruin came crashing in on a corner kick, and scored the biggest goal of her life. 

Reilyn Turner. 

The junior forward found the back of the net when she headed in the game-tying goal with 16 seconds left to send the national championship into overtime. 

“That one will go down in history,” said coach Margueritte Aozasa. “There was just no way that they were going to go down without a fight.”

Graduate student midfielder Maricarmen Reyes collected the game-winning goal in the second overtime, and No. 1 seed UCLA (22-2-1, 9-2 Pac-12) overcame No. 2 seed North Carolina (20-5-1, 8-2 ACC) to clinch the national championship by a score of 3-2 in Cary, North Carolina. The Bruins won their second national title in program history to bring No. 120 back to Westwood.

Aozasa – who became the first rookie head coach to win a national title – said Monday was a dream come true.

“Tonight was super special,” Aozasa said. “I couldn’t have written it better, and I’m just really grateful for the opportunity to coach this group.

North Carolina got the first opportunity of the match in the 13th minute, but graduate student defender Madelyn Desiano cleared the ball directly in front of the goal line to keep the game scoreless. The Tar Heels had another chance off a free kick in the 21st minute, but graduate student goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy came up with the save.

UCLA registered its first shot of the game in the 28th minute, when freshman forward Bridgette Marin-Valencia played a through ball to midfielder/forward Sunshine Fontes, but the senior blasted the ball into the side of the net. 

The Bruins had a couple opportunities to break the tie off a pair of corner kicks in the final minutes of the half, but nothing resulted from the set pieces. 

Not much went on in the first half, with UCLA generating a lone shot on goal compared to North Carolina’s two. The Tar Heels dominated possession in the first 15 minutes, but the Bruins began to even things out after that.

Although the Bruins did not generate much of an offensive presence in the first half, Aozasa knew they would eventually find opportunities.

“I told the team at halftime, ‘We’re going to get our chances,'” Aozasa said.

Junior forward Reilyn Turner poses while holding the national championship trophy. Turner scored the equalizing goal in the final minute of regulation to send the Bruins to overtime. (Christine Kao/Daily Bruin staff)

North Carolina garnered the first opportunities of the second half. The Tar Heels had a free kick mere feet outside the box and later a corner kick, but nothing came of the two set pieces and the game remained knotted up.

In the 51st minute, Fontes registered UCLA’s best chance of the game thus far off a direct pass from Turner. However, the senior’s shot was saved by North Carolina goalkeeper Emmie Allen.

North Carolina broke the tie in the 59th minute thanks to a header from defender/midfielder/forward Avery Patterson off a cross from forward Emily Moxley. 

There was a large discrepancy in fouls, with the Bruins registering 12 fouls in the first 60 minutes compared to the Tar Heels’ two. 

UCLA garnered a pair of corner kicks in the 64th and 66th minutes but couldn’t find the back of the net with either chance.

North Carolina would add to its advantage in the 75th minute off another header from Patterson. This one resulted from a cross from midfielder Emily Colton and barely snuck into the right corner.

Turner said although the result of the Bruins’ season came down to 10 minutes, she never gave up hope that the blue and gold could find an equalizer.

“With this team, you can never give up because we will always come back,” Turner said. “We will have each other’s back and work to the last second of the game.”

In the 80th minute, sophomore forward Lexi Wright would get one back for UCLA after Fontes blasted a ball that bounced off Allen’s hands. 

With less than a minute remaining, freshman midfielder Ally Lemos stepped up to take a corner kick and delivered a ball that found Turner’s head to tie the game and send it into overtime. 

“I kept looking at the clock. I’m like, ‘Give me the ball. Play it in,’” Turner said. “I knew we had numbers in the box, and (I just wanted to do) anything I could to be able to get something on it. Then I blanked, and the ball’s in the goal.”

Turner heads the ball into the back of the net to tie the game. This was Turner’s 11th goal during the 2022 season. (Christine Kao/Daily Bruin staff)

In overtime, Wright generated a shot to give the Bruins their first lead of the game, but Allen dove to her left and tipped the ball away to make the save and keep the game scoreless.

UCLA appeared to have scored a goal in the 105th minute, but after review, it was determined that the ball did not cross the line.

In the 107th minute, Reyes found the back of the net to grant  the Bruins their first lead of the game. 

Reyes, who made a last-minute decision to return to Westwood for her fifth season, said she came back for moments like Monday night.

“This doesn’t even feel real,” Reyes said. “How we (Lauren Brzykcy and I) stayed another year in the program and boom – we accomplish this.”

The blue and gold would not relinquish the advantage, and the Bruins claimed their second national championship in program history. Monday was the first time in Women’s College Cup history that a team has come back from two goals down to win the national title.

Turner said that after being upset in the first round of the NCAA tournament last year, she knew 2022 would be the Bruins’ year.

“We knew that we had what it took, and we just needed to finally put the last pieces together,” Turner said. “It (the championship) means the world, and I’m still in shock. It hasn’t hit me yet.”

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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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