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Last-minute penalty goal secures win for UCLA women’s soccer against Cal Poly

Graduate student forward Ally Cook takes on a Cal Poly player for the ball. (Joseph Jimenez/Photo editor)

Women’s Soccer

Cal Poly1
No. 1 UCLA2

By Lori Garavartanian

Aug. 25, 2023 1:06 p.m.

With less than two minutes left in regulation, the Bruins were tied with the Mustangs.

That was until the referee’s whistle blew across Wallis Annenberg Stadium and graduate student midfielder Sunshine Fontes lined up in the penalty box.

No. 1 UCLA women’s soccer (2-0) managed to continue its undefeated start to the season against Cal Poly (0-1-1), winning the game 2-1 behind the graduate student forward’s 89th minute goal. This is the Bruins’ second home win of the season before turning to a pair of away games.

The game was full of chaos and that made the winning penalty more nerve-racking than it would normally be, according to Fontes.

“We got away with a win there,” Fontes said. “We didn’t play to the standard we would have liked.”

The first half of the game concluded with the Bruins up 1-0 with 11 shots against the Mustangs’ zero. Graduate student forward Ally Cook made the only goal of the half and had other opportunities to score, including an earlier shot that was saved by the keeper.

“We had been creating a lot of chances in the first half. We were knocking at the door and just waiting for that one to go in,” Cook said. “It was great service by Quincy (junior defender Quincy McMahon) and it was an easy finish for me.”

The second half started with a stronger Cal Poly attack, with a goal in the 53rd minute.

Despite the fact that the Mustangs’ goal tied the game, Coach Margueritte Aozasa said the team was more upset that they hadn’t been able to separate themselves before that moment.

“The game should have never been 0-1 at that time,” Aozasa said. “Many others are going to look at that moment as what went wrong, but to us we look at overall performance and we know that it was subpar.”

In addition, Cal Poly had to wrap up the game defending UCLA’s efforts with only 10 players, having a player ejected with a red card in the 56th minute.

The Bruins continued to collect more shots throughout the second half, ending with seven more shots on goal than the Mustangs.

Despite UCLA more than tripling Cal Poly in shots on goal, the game remained stagnant for over 30 minutes, with a tie seeming imminent in the closing stages.

It was junior forward Lexi Wright drawing a penalty with less than two minutes remaining that allowed UCLA a final opportunity to put the game away. The penalty put the ball at the feet of Fontes and eventually into the back of the net, leaving little time for Cal Poly to draw up a response.

Despite the win, Aozasa said the game was frustrating, adding that the team paid for not putting away opportunities that they had.

“I thought tonight’s performance was just really flat, uninspiring,” Aozasa said. “We had a couple of players really step up and make a difference. Obviously that’s not going to be good enough. We’ll hope to build on that and put in a better team performance.”


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Lori Garavartanian
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