#ThursdayGoals women's soccer preview: No. 14 California at No. 10 UCLA
The matchup: No 14 California at No. 10 UCLA
On the Call: Christian Miles and Tracey Bailey
The fourth installment of #ThursdayGoals is here to kick off another weekend of #Pac12WSOC action. This week’s slate features a matchup between two top-15 teams with No. 10 UCLA hosting No. 14 California at Drake Stadium. Both teams head into the contest with winning streaks on the line.
The Bruins hold a 16-5-1 all-time upper hand over the Golden Bears, but Cal will look to repeat its performance of last year, a 7-0 onslaught to beat the Bruins. Both programs hold nine points apiece atop the conference standings, knotted with Stanford, USC and Colorado.
On the Visitors: California (10-0-2, 3-0-0 Pac-12)
The Golden Bears are currently on a five-match winning streak and 3-0-0 in Pac-12 play, with all those victories coming at home. Cal’s first road test at No. 10 UCLA will prove tough, but the women of Berkeley have proven they’re up to the competition. Cal leads the Pac-12 in goals against average, only allowing five goals in 12 games to date.
Golden Bears To Watch:
Arielle Ship, senior - forward: Ship, the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year, has already picked up where she left off last year. The senior out of Westlake Village, California leads the league in points per game at a mark of 1.73. A 2015 NSCAA All-American and All-Pac-12 First Team pick last year, Ship was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list this year. Ship leads the team in goals, assists and points and is second in game-winning goals.
Ifeoma Onumonu, redshirt senior - forward: Ask us to name a more iconic duo? The Ship-Onumonu pairing is the real deal. The left and center forwards have combined for a staggering seven of Cal’s 10 game-winning goals to date. Onumonu, the 2012 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, needs three more goals to crack the top-five all time in the California record book, passing Erika Hinton (1990-93).
Check out the Ship-Onumonu connection below:
32' | GOAL! Ship to Onumonu puts the Bears up 1-0! https://t.co/40RQnC6TGC
— Cal Women's Soccer (@CalWomensSoccer) September 23, 2016
Emily Boyd, junior - goalkeeper: The upperclassman out of Seattle leads the Pac-12 in goals against average at .411, a mark which ranks 10th nationally. Her eight shutouts rank third in the nation. Boyd’s 23.3 career clean sheets ranks second in Cal history, nearing Maite Zabala’s record of 26.5 (1997-00).
On the Home Side: No. 10 Bruins (9-2-0, 3-0-0 Pac-12)
The Bruins are on a six-match winning streak, including taking down Arizona State and the Oregon schools in Pac-12 play. UCLA is 3-2 against ranked opponents this season, done all in the non-conference portion of its schedule. Key wins included downing then-No. 11 Texas A&M, 1-0, at College Station, Texas, and beating then-No. 13 Penn State in Westwood. UCLA knows how to score, as the Bruins are tied with the Golden Bears and each have slotted 25 goals between the posts this season. Having played 11 matches this season, the Bruins are averaging a Pac-12 leading 6.91 points per game and 2.36 assists per game. Ten different players have scored for UCLA this season, led by seven goals each from veteran Darian Jenkins and freshman Jessie Fleming.
Bruins to Watch:
Jessie Fleming, freshman - midfielder: Fleming has eight matches under her belt for the Blue and Gold and is averaging 1.88 points per game. The Canadian freshman and Canadian Olympian leads the conference in that category. Here’s that GIF again of her footwork skills, and our reaction is still like UCLA’s men’s team on the bench behind her:
— UCLA Women's Soccer (@UCLAWSoccer) August 28, 2016
Anika Rodriguez, redshirt freshman - forward / midfielder: Give it up to the Bruin rookies. Rodriguez, who redshirted her 2015 season due to injury, leads the Bruins with six assists to date. That mark also leads the Pac-12, so look for her to distribute services and find the foot (or head) of Fleming in the 18.
Tegan Micah, freshman - goalkeeper: Micah has six shutouts under her belt this season and holds a 0.90 goals against average mark. A two-time Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week, Micah has 40 saves to date.
Jenkins out: Head coach Amanda Cromwell announced UCLA senior forward and co-captain Darian Jenkins will be out for the season after sustaining a leg injury against Oregon. Jenkins finishes her career on the pitch with 14 game-winning goals, good for a fifth-place tie all-time in Bruin history.
Neil McGuire closing on Golden Bear History: Cal’s leader of the helm in head coach Neil McGuire needs three more victories on his résumé to share the title of most wins in Cal history at 124. The record was set by McGuire’s predecessor, Kevin Boyd (1997-06).
NWSL Championship Game: The Pac-12 has a strong showing in the NWSL Championship Game, which takes place Sunday, Oct. 9 in Houston between the Western New York Flash and Washington Spirit. UCLA leads the conference’s count with seven Bruins listed on both rosters, with five for the Flash and two for the Spirit. Bruins represented on the Flash include defender Abby Dahlkemper (2011-14), midfielder Sam Mewis (2011-14), goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland (2011-14), forward Taylor Smith (2012-15) and midfielder McCall Zerboni (2005-08). Defenders Caprice Dydasco (2011-14) and Megan Oyster (2011-14) are UCLA's representatives on the Washington Spirit. Additionally USC’s midfielder Elizabeth Eddy (2010-13) will represent the Flash, and Arizona State’s forward Cali Farquharson (2012-15) helped the Spirit this season before sustaining a season-ending ACL injury.