Aug. 25, 2006
University Park, Pa. - Despite scoring less than a minute into the match, the preseason No. 1-ranked UCLA women's soccer team dropped its first season opener in five years Friday evening, falling to third-ranked Penn State, 3-1 at the Penn State Invitational.
UCLA, which is playing without five starters who are currently with the Under-20 U.S. National Team in Russia, jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when freshman Kristina Larsen scored just 27 seconds into the match. Seniors Bristyn Davis and Mary Castelanelli were credited with assists on that goal. From there on out, however, it was all Penn State as the Nittany Lions scored twice in the first half and added another goal late in the second half to hold on for a 3-1 victory.
Bruin goalkeeper Ashley Thompson, playing in place of starter Valerie Henderson, finished with a match-high five saves on the evening. Penn State goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher picked up the victory, playing all 90 minutes in goal.
In addition to Larsen, four other Bruin newcomers made starts Friday evening, as Lauren Wilmoth, Lauren Switzer, Molly Kruger and Lydia Cook were all in the lineup to start the match. Freshman Jacqui Simon also came in as a substitute.
UCLA is without likely starters Henderson, Danesha Adams, Christina DiMartino, Erin Hardy and Lauren Cheney, as all five recently helped the U.S. advance to the quarterfinals of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Championships. For its part, Penn State was playing without starter Allie Long, who is also on that team.
UCLA, which last fell in a season opener back in 2000 (1-0 at Clemson), looks to rebound on Sunday, as the Bruins will face Maryland at Noon.