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UCLA women’s soccer scores redemption victory against UC Irvine

Graduate student forward Ally Cook defends the ball from the opposing team. (Christine Kao/Daily Bruin staff)

Women’s Soccer


No. 1 UCLA4
UC Irvine0

By Grace Whitaker

Aug. 28, 2023 12:55 p.m.

UCLA women’s soccer exited the 2021 NCAA tournament after an unranked team sent the Bruins packing in the first round.

The squad in question, UC Irvine, took down UCLA 1-0, striking early and preventing the Bruins from equalizing.

Nearly two years later, the roles were reversed in the first face off between the two programs since, with UCLA squashing its opponent from the first whistle to the final.

After a scoring frenzy, No. 1 UCLA women’s soccer (3-0) defeated UC Irvine (2-2) by a score of 4-0 on the Anteaters’ home turf Sunday. In addition to the shutout victory, the Bruins outshot their opponents 23-4 and 12-0 in shots on goal.

Graduate student forward Ally Cook said the team was ravenous to score following last week’s contest, in which they scraped by in a two-goal effort – the latter of which being via a last-minute penalty kick.

“We have a saying like, ‘Eat your dinner.'” Cook said. “We’ve got to be hungry for goals, so that’s kind of our driving force.”

The forward opened the contest with a punchy goal in the 18th minute, heading the ball in off of a header assist from senior forward Reilyn Turner.

Cook – who recently emerged as the Bruins’ new scoring force after converting her chances in all three contests thus far – said competing alongside her teammates challenged her to improve her offensive presence.

“This was my first offseason with the team,” Cook said. “Really good training time and just the players around me – I’m competing against some of the best. And I’m like, ‘Okay, I gotta raise my level.’”

The Anteaters had minimal time to recover, as nine minutes after the initial strike, Turner added to UCLA’s early success.

Turner garnered possession of the ball and swiftly sent a shot into the back of the net. The Bruins’ co-reigning leading scorer’s first goal of the campaign brought the score to 2-0 after less than one-third of gameplay.

UCLA remained an unrelenting offensive force up two goals in the second half.

Junior forward Lexi Wright collected her first goal of the season off a run in the 53rd minute.

And after more than 30 minutes of silence on the scoring front, the Bruins weren’t done yet. Freshman forward Val Vargas collected her first collegiate goal in the 86th minute and sealed the deal on a shutout against the Anteaters.

“When you watch her (Vargas) play, she’s creative, she’s exciting, she has a lot of flair,” said coach Margueritte Aozasa. “And her 1v1 ability is pretty incredible, so the goal tonight was very fitting.”

Capped off by the noteworthy first goal from a freshman, this game marks the halfway point of UCLA’s non-conference slate.

Turner said the Bruins are hoping early positive results are key to the recipe for a successful season.

“Last year, we had a pretty successful preseason, and one of our goals was to replicate that,” Turner said.

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Grace Whitaker | Sports senior staff
Whitaker is currently a senior staff writer on the football, men's basketball and women's basketball beats. She was previously an assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, women's soccer, beach volleyball and cross country beats and a contributor on the women's basketball and beach volleyball beats.
Whitaker is currently a senior staff writer on the football, men's basketball and women's basketball beats. She was previously an assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, women's soccer, beach volleyball and cross country beats and a contributor on the women's basketball and beach volleyball beats.
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