The #2/4 UCLA women’s soccer team embarks on one of the most ambitious road trips any team has ever faced, taking on four Top 20 teams in two weeks, including the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, defending NCAA champion North Carolina.
First up for UCLA is the 21st annual Notre Dame adidas Invitational in South Bend, Ind. The Bruins (1-1) open the tournament against 20th-ranked Marquette (1-1) on Friday, Aug. 30 at 5pm ET/2pm PT. Seventh-ranked Notre Dame (2-0) takes on Oakland (1-1) after the UCLA-Marquette game. On Sunday, Sept. 1, Marquette plays Oakland at 11am ET/8am PT prior to UCLA’s game against Notre Dame at 1:30pm ET/10:30am PT. The UCLA-Notre Dame will be broadcast live on WatchND.tv.
Following this weekend’s games, the Bruins will remain on the road and travel to Durham, N.C. to take on No. 1 North Carolina on Sept. 6 and No. 12 Duke on Sept. 8.
In the Rankings
After winning both games over the weekend via shutout, the Bruins moved up one spot in the Soccer America and NSCAA polls, checking in at No. 2 and No. 4, respectively. The Bruins remained No. 4 in the Top Drawer Soccer poll.
UCLA opened the season with a 4-0 victory over Northeastern on Aug. 23. The Bruins dominated the contest, scoring three goals in the first 16 minutes and outshooting the Huskies, 17-1. New faces played a big part in the Bruin victory, the first for new UCLA head coach Amanda Cromwell, with freshmen Gabbi Miranda and Darian Jenkins, along with veterans Rosie White and Jenna Richmond, contributing goals. Sunday’s game was similar, with three more first-half goals in a 3-0 win over Cal State Northridge, Richmond, Jenkins and Taylor Smith scored goals for the Bruins.
Amanda Cromwell Era Starts With Two Shutout Wins
Head coach Amanda Cromwell opened her tenure as UCLA head coach with a pair of shutout victories last weekend. Cromwell, the fifth head coach in UCLA women’s soccer history, came to the Bruins after 14 years in the same position at the University of Central Florida. From 1999-2012, she guided the Knights to a 203-83-26 record, 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, four Atlantic Sun Tournament championships, four Conference USA regular-season titles and the 2012 C-USA tournament title. Cromwell’s Knights made a NCAA Elite Eight run in 2011 that included a defeat of North Carolina in the third round.
With 224 career victories and a .681 winning percentage at the close of the 2012 season, Cromwell currently ranks among the top-25 winningest active coaches and the top-30 all-time winningest coaches in NCAA history.
Gabbi Gets Olimpico Goal, Jenkins Scores Two
UCLA’s freshmen starters made themselves known in a hurry over the weekend. Not even three minutes into her first collegiate game, Gabbi Miranda scored an Olimpico goal, curling in a corner kick just 2:42 into the season opener against Northeastern. Darian Jenkins scored her first collegiate goal 13 minutes later and added another first half goal in the Cal State Northridge game. Jenkins is tied for the team lead in scoring with two goals and four points.
In addition to starters Gabbi Miranda and Darian Jenkins, five other Bruins made their UCLA debuts over the weekend. Freshmen Annie Alvarado, Lauren Kaskie and Alyssa Alarab saw action in both games. Sophomore Mikaela Arnstein, who was a team manager a year ago, made her playing debut against Northeastern, and freshman Claire Winter saw her first action against Cal State Northridge. Additionally, redshirt sophomore Courtney Proctor made her first appearance since 2011, playing a total of 81 minutes in two games. Proctor redshirted a year ago after tearing her ACL.
Richmond, Dahlkemper Honored
Senior midfielder Jenna Richmond and junior defender Abby Dahlkemper were honored for their play last weekend. Richmond was named the UCLA/Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week after scoring a pair of goals in the two games. Dahlkemper was placed on the Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week for her role in the two shutout wins.
Killion Returns To Indiana
Junior midfielder Sarah Killion returns to her home state of Indiana. The Fort Wayne native and Bishop Dwenger graduate leads the Pac-12 with three assists in two games. She had two assists in the 3-0 win over Cal State Northridge. Killion is a first-team Top Drawer Soccer’s Best XI team member and was named to TDS’s Team of the Season second-team in 2012.
Scouting the Opponents
Marquette opened the season ranked No. 14 but split in Portland last weekend, losing to No. 15 Portland, 1-0, but defeating Portland State, 3-2. The Golden Eagles went 18-3-2 last season and advanced to the NCAA Round of 16. Marquette returns both of its top scorers from a year ago - Maegan Kelly (8g, 13a) and Taylor Madigan (9g, 4a). UCLA and Marquette have only met twice, with the Bruins taking big wins at home, 4-0 in 2005 and 5-1 in 2000.
Notre Dame ranked No. 10 in the preseason and moved up to No. 7 this week after defeating Illinois and Northwestern by identical 4-1 scores. The Irish went 16-6-2 a year ago and advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals. Ten starters return, including Crystal Thomas, who led the team in scoring as a freshman with 10 goals and 22 points.
Veteran Group Leads Bruins
UCLA’s upperclassmen are about as experienced a group as you can get, with a combined total of 505 games played and 360 games started between the 14 of them. Senior Jenna Richmond leads all current Bruins with 67 games played and 66 starts. Junior Abby Dahlkemper has started and played in every game in her Bruin career (46 games).
Nine Newcomers Grace Roster
The Bruins welcome nine new players to the squad in 2013, including eight freshmen that comprise the No. 4 recruiting class in the nation, led by U.S. Youth National Team players Gabbi Miranda, Lauren Kaskie, Zoey Goralski and Darian Jenkins. Also in the freshman class are highly-regarded players Alyssa Alarab, Annie Alvarado, Lauren Rodriguez and Claire Winter. Additionally, sophomore defender Mikaela Arnstein has earned a place on the squad after serving as team manager in 2012.
Preseason Pac-12 Favorites
UCLA was selected as the preseason favorites to win the Pac-12 in a vote by conference coaches. The Bruins received seven first-place votes and 117 points overall in the Pac-12 preseason poll to edge out four-time defending conference champion Stanford, which received five first-place votes and 115 points.
Dahlkemper on Watch List
Junior defender Abby Dahlkemper has been selected to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List for the second consecutive season. Dahlkemper earned NSCAA second-team All-America and first-team All-Pacific Region honors in 2012 after leading UCLA’s defense to a Pac-12 leading 14 shutouts and a team goals against average of just 0.55. Dahlkemper was a starter in all 23 of UCLA’s games and ranked second on the team in minutes played, seeing a total of 2,016 of a possible 2,120 minutes. She also contributed offensively, recording three goals, including game-winners against UMass and Fresno State, and added three assists. She was twice named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week (Aug. 20-27 and Oct. 1-7) and was also selected to the Soccer America Team of the Week for Aug. 20-27.
Bruins Bestowed Preseason Honors
Bruin players have been making regular appearances as preseason honors have been rolling in. Along with the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List, Abby Dahlkemper was named to the Soccer America preseason All-America team and to Top Drawer Soccer’s preseason Best XI second team. Junior midfielder Sarah Killion earned first-team acclaim on Top Drawer Soccer’s Best XI team, and junior midfielder Sam Mewis was a third-team selection by Top Drawer Soccer.
Bruins Take on Challenging Schedule
UCLA has the most challenging non-conference schedule and the second-most challenging overall schedule in the nation, according to All White Kit. The Bruins will meet up with each of the Top 3 teams in Top Drawer Soccer’s preseason poll, with road matches against No. 1 North Carolina (in Durham), No. 2 Stanford and No. 3 Notre Dame. UCLA also faces No. 8 Duke, No. 21 San Diego State and No. 24 California.