Sept. 11, 2011
LOS ANGELES - After a close first 45 minutes, the fourth-ranked UCLA women's soccer team scored three unanswered goals in the second half to register a 4-1 victory over Fresno State in a non-conference showdown at Drake Stadium on Sunday evening. It culminates a weekend sweep for the Bruins, who also downed SMU, 1-0 on Friday evening.
"I was very proud of how we performed this weekend," said UCLA head coach B.J. Snow. "It was two different types of games. Friday night we had a lot of the possession and controlled the game from the get-go. Tonight, it was a battle in the first half. We saw a team that played a different style than we've ever seen before. We made some adjustments at halftime and the girls responded."
UCLA (6-0-1) struck early in Sunday's match, taking a 1-0 lead on Sydney Leroux's fifth goal of the year. A quick exchange at midfield between freshman Samantha Mewis and sophomore Jenna Richmond resulted in a run by Richmond toward the goal. After drawing several Bulldog defenders, Richmond laid the ball off to her left where Leroux ran onto it, eventually finishing from about 15 yards out.
Fresno State, however, managed to get an equalizer just before halftime on Kayla Kret's second goal of the year. After the Bulldogs were awarded a corner kick, Molly Nizzoli played a bending ball into the box and Kret headed it down. The ball bounced up and over the outstretched hands of UCLA goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland.
Although the score was close at the half, the Bruins dominated play following the intermission, scoring three unanswered goals. Leroux would score her team-leading sixth goal of the year in the 57th minute on a play very similar to her scoring sequence in the first half. Richmond played a ball at midfield to Zakiya Bywaters, who darted toward the Fresno State goal. Just before reaching the top of the box, Bywaters laid it off to a sprinting Leroux on the right side, who finished to the far post.
Richmond nearly got a goal of her own on Sunday, as she took a pass from Courtney Proctor and one-timed a right-footed bullet toward the Fresno State goal. The ball, however, bounced off the right post before being cleared by a Bulldog defender.
The Bruins still managed to get two more goals, as a pair of freshmen capped the scoring for UCLA in the 65th and 67th minutes. Mewis tallied her first collegiate goal at the 64:03 mark when she ran onto a poor defensive clearance by the Bulldogs, eventually scoring from about five yards out. Two minutes later, Courtnall took a pass from Kylie McCarthy and was suddenly one-on-one with Bulldog goalkeeper Katie DeVault. When DeVault came off her line, Courtnall tapped a right-footed shot to the right corner to give UCLA a 4-1 advantage.
The Bruins played two goalkeepers in Sunday's match, with Rowland getting the start and playing the entire first half before being relieved by senior Chante' Sandiford, who picked up the victory.
With the win, UCLA improves to 6-0 all-time against Fresno State (3-3). UCLA freshman Torey Markowitz sang God Bless America prior to the start of Sunday's contest to honor those who lost their lives in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
UCLA's only match next week is at LMU on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.