Sept. 8, 2006
LOS ANGELES - Playing with a full squad for the first time this season, the fifth-ranked UCLA women's soccer team recorded a thrilling 2-1 victory over No. 4 Texas A&M in the second match of the 2006 UCLA Women's Cup at Drake Stadium Friday evening. In the first match of the day, No. 3 Santa Clara edged No. 12 UConn, 2-1 in double-overtime. UCLA improves to 4-1 overall, while Texas A&M drops to 3-1-1.
Friday marked the first match for five UCLA starters who had been unavailable for the first part of the season while competing at the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Championships in Russia. The Bruins' U-20 stars - Danesha Adams, Lauren Cheney, Erin Hardy, Christina DiMartino and Valerie Henderson - were all in the starting lineup Friday. Adams, who led the U-20s in scoring during the tournament, made her presence felt immediately, as she gave UCLA a 1-0 lead in just the 14th minute of the match when she jumped on a loose ball in the box following a failed A&M clearance.
The Bruins maintained a 1-0 advantage into the half, however the Aggies struck back with an equalizer just five minutes after play resumed. Amy Berend knocked in a shot from the left side of the box on a play setup by Cydne Currie and Ashlee Pistorius.
Just when it looked like both teams were headed to overtime, Bruin freshmen Lauren Wilmoth and Cheney connected on a play that proved to be the game winner. Wilmoth made a run down the right side of the field, driving in a low-lying ball that found the foot of a charging Cheney, who slipped it past Texas A&M goalkeeper Kristin Arnold at the 77:58 mark. Cheney becomes the second Bruin this season to score in her college debut, as Kristina Larsen also had a goal in her first match against Penn State.
"This was two very good teams; two top-five teams going at it," said UCLA head coach Jillian Ellis. "Texas A&M gave us all we could handle, and I'm proud that we were able to sustain (our lead) and pull out the win."
Henderson picked up her first win of the season in goal, making three saves in 90 minutes of action. Arnold, who also played the entire match, finished with a match-high five saves.
All four teams return to action on Sunday, as Texas A&M will take on Santa Clara at 11:30 a.m. and UCLA will face UConn at 2:00 p.m. Both matches will be shown live on ESPNU. Friday's UCLA vs. Texas A&M match was taped by Fox Sports Net and will air throughout the country several times beginning Sept. 13.