Oct. 24, 2008
LOS ANGELES - Junior forward Kristina Larsen scored both Bruin goals Friday evening, as the third-ranked UCLA women's soccer team posted a 2-1 victory over No. 9 USC before 7,804 fans at the Los Angeles Coliseum. With the win, the Bruins remain undefeated on the season at 14-0-2 (5-0 Pac-10). It marks UCLA's ninth win in its last 10 matches against its cross-town rival.
"What a great environment for a college soccer match," said UCLA head coach Jillian Ellis. "For this many people to watch a soccer game in Los Angeles says a lot for this sport. This was a great confidence boost for this team. We've got two tough games coming up so hopefully we can build on this win."
UCLA struck first in the match, scoring in the 27th minute after Larsen got loose in the right side of the USC box. Senior midfielder Christina DiMartino played the ball in to Larsen, who drew out USC goalkeeper Kristin Olsen before finishing on a left-footed shot to the far post.
The Bruins enjoyed a 1-0 lead at the half, however USC (12-3-1; 2-2-1 Pac-10) came out and evened it up just a little more than four minutes after play resumed on a close-range header by Megan Oahi. Stacey Strong and Nini Loucks were credited with the assists on that goal. It marked only the third goal given up by UCLA in 16 matches this season.
The Women of Troy's lead didn't last for long, as Larsen would net her second goal of the match at the 60:30 mark on a header off a Lauren Wilmoth corner kick. Larsen is now tied with Lauren Cheney for the team lead in goals with nine. It also marked her fourth game-winning goal of the season.
"She's just been huge for us," said Ellis in reference to Larsen. "It's not just about the goals either; her energy was great. Everything is clicking for her right now. I couldn't be happier for her."
Added Larsen," I just went in and did what coach told me to do. I ended up getting a couple of goals out of it so that was good. We came out and matched their intensity. It was one of the most physical matches we have had this year."
UCLA picks up five points in the race for the Lexus Gauntlet Trophy, as USC now leads the all-sports race 7.5-5. The Bruins were also able to avenge a 2-1 loss to the Women of Troy in last year's NCAA College Cup Semifinals.
UCLA doesn't get much of a break next week, as No. 2 Stanford comes to town on Friday at 5:00 p.m.