UCLA women’s soccer seeks revenge in match against USC a year after upset
Junior defender Ayo Oke prepares to defend against a Stanford player. (Joseph Jimenez/Photo editor)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Wallis Annenberg Stadium
Nov. 3, 2023 12:47 p.m.
Revenge is a dish best served cold.
And the Bruins plan to do just that.
“We’re trying to win the crosstown cup and keep the W’s at UCLA,” said junior defender Ayo Oke.
No. 2 UCLA (15-1-1, 9-0-1) will head into its final game of the regular season this Friday evening at Wallis Annenberg Stadium to face rivals No. 22 USC (10-3-3, 6-1-3). This matchup comes a year after the Bruins fell to the Trojans 2-0 before embarking on their successful NCAA Tournament run.
The Bruins have not forgotten the previous year’s matchup, said coach Margueritte Aozasa.
“This is one of those games, we don’t have to hype up the team,” Aozasa said. “I think they want to avenge our loss last year, and then we want to just finish the regular season on a high.”
The revenge game comes after the Bruins clinched their 14th and final Pac-12 title last Sunday prior to next year’s move to the Big Ten.
Following the title win, Oke picked up UCLA’s sixth Pac-12 Defender of the Week selection this season.
With the defender assisting or scoring on all three goals this weekend, Oke buried her first goal of the season. The Bruin took home the honor after a Oct. 26 goal against her former team, California, as well as an assist for the only goal scored Sunday afternoon against Stanford.
Senior midfielder Michaela Rosenbaum also saw action in last Thursday’s series, scoring in the first half and contributing to the Bruins’ 17-7 shot margin performance against the Golden Bears.
With the last regular season game, the crosstown competition is an important step for both her team and herself, said Rosenbaum.
“I am a senior, and it is my last year, so I’m just trying to soak it all in,” Rosenbaum said. “I think playing USC tomorrow is going to be a good game for what we’re going to expect in the tournament, so that’s how we’re kind of going into it.”
Heading into their final home game of the season, the Bruins have maintained a 22-game undefeated streak at home. Since Aozasa joined the coaching staff in 2022, the head coach has not lost a single home game as a Bruin.
The Bruins will have to surmount the same enemy that defeated them one year prior. On the cusp of playoffs once again, the Trojans will be a good test for the Bruins, Aozasa said.
“I think playing Stanford last weekend and then USC this weekend, it’s kind of the perfect runway to the playoffs because those are both tournament level teams,” Aozasa said. “We’re going to treat it like a playoff game, and so hopefully we’ll be sharp and put our chances away … because we know after next week all those little details really count.”