UCLA women’s soccer looks to regain territory in upcoming Pac-12 play
Freshman forward Val Vargas drives the ball forward. (Daily Bruin file photo)
Friday, 6 p.m.
Sept. 22, 2023 1:34 p.m.
The Bruins entered conference play with a blemish-free nonconference slate last season.
This season is a different story.
Having lost a contest and dropping to fifth in the rankings, UCLA will travel to its first Pac-12 match with territory to regain.
No. 5 UCLA women’s soccer (6-1) will commence its Pac-12 slate with a contest against No. 20 Colorado (8-1) Friday night. The Buffaloes recently found a spot on the top-25 after a collection of nonconference victories, taking down then-No. 14 Michigan State and seven other opponents.
Coach Margueritte Aozasa noted that after her team’s performance against Pepperdine, she was proud of their development heading into conference action.
“It’s kind of what we hoped for in terms of game momentum going into conference,” Aozasa said. “We still have some things to work on, but it’s more fine-tuning as opposed to big blaring issues.”
UCLA is undefeated since its first loss of the season against now-No. 6 BYU on Aug. 31. The loss resulted in the Bruins relinquishing their top ranking, one they had held for an entire calendar year.
UCLA heads into the contest with a 12-2 record all-time against Colorado, additionally boasting a six-match winning streak over the Buffaloes. The game will also stand as the squad’s first out-of-state and high-altitude game since its loss to BYU.
Freshman forward Val Vargas said the Bruins have their minds on not granting any more opponents victory.
“Definitely working on keeping our mindset on the winning streak,” Vargas said. “Also, just keeping a great mentality.”
While the Bruins went on to win the national title last season, conference play didn’t prove as glorious. With two defeats to familiar opponents Stanford and USC, UCLA was unable to take home a conference crown.
If the Bruins were to take the title home this time around, it would be their first since their 2021 campaign.
Junior defender Quincy McMahon – the current Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week – said while she is pleased with her team’s current performances, the group definitely hasn’t peaked yet.
“We’re happy with where we are now, but it’s not where we want to be in November,” McMahon said. “So, I think using these next games just to continue to get better.”
UCLA will kick off against Colorado Friday at 6 p.m. in Boulder, Colorado.