Marguerite Aozasa’s first game at Westwood started with a bit of trouble for the Bruins, but ended with a clean finish.
No. 13 UCLA Women’s Soccer (1-0) started a new era on Thursday night against Iowa (0-1), topping the table with a 1-0 win. His 20 minutes of slowness in the first hampered the direction of the match, but his 60th-minute goal from alumni midfielder Maricarmen Reyes put the Bruins on the right track for victory. .
It may have been new territory for Aozasa as head coach of Ao and Kin, but she continued the tradition of the Bruins’ early season success, extending UCLA’s winning streak to seven in the season opener.
Alumni goalie Lauren Budziksi reveals why he was named Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Year in 2020, keeping a clean sheet against the Hawkeyes. The Bruin with the longest tenure recorded his two saves against Iowa. One of them was his save in his 80th minute diving from his kick in the looming curling free.
Early in the match, Hawkeye’s persistent possession and offense saw the Bruins defending back in the half. Iowa forward Haley Ruedberg shot from the post in the ninth minute, forcing the Hawkeyes to six corners throughout the first half. The Bruins backline cleared each and every one.
Cal Transfer junior defender Maya Evans made her UCLA debut and got off to a good start in the season opener. Alongside sophomore defender Jayden Perry, sophomore defender Quincy McMahon, and alumni defender Madelyn his Deciano, Evans kept his first 45 clean minutes despite the usual pressure. Contributed to play.
The Bruins eased their way into the contest, eventually moving forward to record five shots in the first half. Oregon graduate transfer forward Allie Cook and sophomore forward Lexi Wright worked together to create multiple scoring chances as the team finished the night with 12 shots.
Cook spent most of the action on the right wing, attempting crosses into Wright’s Iowa box, but none of the attempts were converted into goals.
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UCLA maintained their attacking presence in the second half, officially turning the momentum around thanks to the quick play of their two veteran Bruins.
In the 60th minute, McMahon had two Hawkeye defenders burst into the box and quickly through the crowded penalty area. While in the air, the ball took a deflection and hit Reyes’ leg.
The fifth grade Bruins put the ball in the net, giving the Bruins their first and only goal of the contest. Reyes, who was third in his team with four goals last season, will open his account for the first time in 2022.
Reyes’ lone goal helped make up for the absence of junior forward Raylyn Turner, who missed Thursday’s game. , and scored 1 goal.
Many Bruins made their college debuts with wins, and some played a key role in closing things out. Midfielder Ellie Walburgh came off the bench for his first few minutes in blue and gold.
UCLA will face CSUN in Southern California on August 25th. Kickoff is set for 4pm and the contest will be televised on Pac-12 Networks.
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Photo Credit: Percy Anderson/UCLA Athletics