Oct. 14, 1999
By Colette Jue
In the program's brief six-year history, UCLA women's soccer has established itself as one of the nation's powerhouses, advancing to the NCAA playoffs three times and securing the coveted Pac-10 championship crown twice.
Amidst these accomplishments, the 1999 Bruins are looking to leave a memorable mark of their own. Under the leadership of new head coach Jillian Ellis, this year's squad has its sights set on securing a third consecutive conference title and advancing well into the NCAA playoffs.
"Without a doubt we have great tradition in our program," Ellis says. "We play in a very strong conference, we've been successful in our conference and we've been successful in the national circuit. I think the next step is to be a consistently Top-10, Final Four caliber team."
With an impressive 10-2-0 overall record (as of 10/14/99) and a bevy of talented and experienced players, the '99 Bruins have what it takes to achieve these goals. The current Bruins squad already ranks among the nation's best. At press time, senior goalkeeper Lindsay Culp ranks only second in the nation with her impressive 0.32 goals against average. The team's defense is equally threatening, as it currently ranks 11th nationally with a 0.58 goals against average. Offensively, the team is just as accomplished. The Bruins offense ranks 13th nationally, averaging three goals per game.
UCLA is also listed among the leaders in the Pac-10 Conference. In a preseason poll of conference coaches, the Bruins, along with Stanford, were selected as co-favorites to win the 1999 Pac-10 Conference title.
One of the keys to UCLA's success this season lies with its stifling defense. Last year the Bruin defense posted a school-record 11 shutouts, and if past performances are any indicator of what may come, they are well on their way to breaking another school shutout record. In their 12 games this season, the Bruins have posted seven shutouts, including a four-game shutout streak from September 6 through 17.
"Sweeper Skylar Little is probably the anchor of our defense," Ellis says. "She's a senior captain and she brings great stability. She and the rest of our back unit have played together for a couple years now so there?s great understanding, which is key."
Although UCLA is frequently noted for its strong defense, the Bruins are not short of talent on the offensive end. In eight games, the Bruins have outscored opponents 24-5. "The offense is dangerous," Ellis says. "They are incredibly strong, athletic and difficult for defenders to hold."
With seven conference games remaining in the season, the time is right for the Bruins to showcase their talent and make their mark in women's soccer.
Fans can check out the Bruins this week when they host Washington State on Friday, Oct. 15 at 7:30 pm and Washington on Sunday, Oct. 17 at 1 pm.