Women's Soccer Begins Pac-12 Play Friday at Arizona
No. 4 UCLA (3-0) at Arizona (4-0)
Date: Friday, Feb. 26, 2021 – 6 p.m. MT / 5 p.m. PT
Location: Tucson, Ariz.
Venue: Murphey Field at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium
Live Stats: arizonalivestats.com
BRUINS OPEN PAC-12 PLAY FRIDAY
No. 4 UCLA (3-0) will begin its Pac-12 schedule on Friday, Feb. 26 at Arizona (4-0). The match will take place at Murphey Field at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium at 6 pm MT/5pm PT and live-streamed on pac-12.com/live/university-arizona.
Both programs are unbeaten in 2020-21, with just one goal allowed. The Bruins are outscoring their three opponents, 8-1, while the Wildcats are outscoring their foes at a 13-1 clip. Jill Aguilera and Jada Talley have done most of the damage for Arizona, scoring four and three goals, respectively. UCLA has been led by two-goal scorers Reilyn Turner and Sunshine Fontes. This will be the Bruins' first game outside Southern California this season.
LAST TIME OUT
The Bruins received first-half goals from Reilyn Turner and Olivia Athens and a second-half screamer from Sunshine Fontes to defeat San Diego, 3-0, on Feb. 16. UCLA peppered San Diego's goal with 19 shots, 11 on goal, and forced Torero goalkeeper Ellyn Casto into making eight saves in the contest, including six in the first 16 minutes of the game before Turner scored the first goal at 17:01.
Freshman Reilyn Turner has made a big impression early on in her collegiate career, scoring either a goal or assist in each of the Bruins' first three games. She leads UCLA in goals (two), points (six), shots (nine), and shots on goal (four) and was named to Top Drawer Soccer's Freshman Best XI. Turner brings a great deal of U.S. Youth National Team experience, playing with the U.S. U-19s in 2020 and with the U-17s at the 2018 CONCACAF Championship, where she scored two goals, including the game-winner against Canada to send the team to the semifinals.
TIME TO SHINE
Redshirt freshman Sunshine Fontes has been a ray of light for the Bruins so far this season, tying for the team lead with two goals, including the game-winner against BYU. Playing limited minutes off the bench, she has scored her two goals in just 73 minutes of action. Fontest, who tore her ACL in 2019 at the end of her high school season, was the all-time leading scorer for the U.S. Under-17 National Team with 24 goals.
CANALES CAN DO ALL
Senior midfielder Marley Canales had a hand in nearly every Bruin goal the first two games this season. Of UCLA's first five goals, Canales scored one goal and assisted on three others. She scored the game-tying goal against BYU on a penalty kick (she is 4-for-4 in her career on PKs; additionally, she hit the deciding PK in the 2017 NCAA semifinals). In the season opener at Pepperdine, her first game back since tearing her ACL in October 2019, Canales recorded three assists in the 3-0 victory. Two of those assists came off set pieces - the first off a free kick and the third off a corner kick.
BRZYKCY EARNS FIRST TWO PAC-12 HONORS
Redshirt junior Lauren Brzykcy was named the Pac-12's Goalkeeper of the Week in each of the first two weeks of the season. Brzykcy captured her first award after shutting out No. 25 Pepperdine while making seven saves. She followed that up with a five-save performance against No. 10 BYU, with the lone goal given up being a deflected clearance off a BYU player's back. Brzykcy is now 11-3-0 in her career with six shutouts and a career goals against average of 0.76. Her 13 saves already this year in just three games are tied for her season-best set in both 2018 and 2019.
ACL GANG COMING BACK STRONG
Half of UCLA's eight goals this season have come from players coming back from ACL injuries. Jacey Pederson was the first of the ACL gang to score. Before starting against Pepperdine in the season opener, the fifth-year senior had not played since Nov. 2, 2018, and she made a big impact in her return, scoring her first collegiate goal. Marley Canales tore her ACL on Oct. 13, 2019 and came back with a three-assist game in the season opener and then scored her first goal against BYU. Redshirt freshman Sunshine Fontes suffered a torn ACL at the end of her high school season in 2019 and came back to score her first collegiate goal in just her second game as a Bruin, the game-winner against BYU. She scored her second the next game against BYU and has scored two goals in just 73 minutes of play. Additionally, a fifth goal was scored by another player coming off a major injury. Olivia Athens suffered a leg fracture in September 2019 and missed the remainder of the year. She scored her first goal since November 2018 in UCLA's 3-0 win vs. San Diego.
While previous members of the ACL gang are thriving now, a new member was recently added though, as senior midfielder Viviana Villacorta tore her ACL in the first half of the season opener at Pepperdine and underwent surgery this week. Villacorta, who was drafted by the Orlando Pride in the first round of the 2021 NWSL College Draft, had not missed a game during her UCLA career until this past week, making 72 appearances and totaling seven goals and 16 assists.
Sophomore forward Mia Fishel has picked up where she left off last season when she led the team with 14 goals scored, including six goals in her last six games. Fishel scored the season's first goal in the eighth minute at Pepperdine in the season opener, and she set up the Bruins' first goal against BYU, drawing a penalty kick in the second half with UCLA down 1-0. She was selected the Bruin of the Match for the BYU game. Fishel earned her first call-up with the U.S. Women's National Team in October and was the Golden Ball winner at the 2020 Concacaf U-20 Championships after scoring a U.S. record 13 goals in the tournament.
Nine Bruins have made their collegiate debuts in the first three games. Freshmen Reilyn Turner and Megan Edelman have started each game, with Turner totaling two goals and two assists, and Edelman being named the Bruin of the Match in the opener against Pepperdine. Also playing in all three games have been redshirt freshman Sunshine Fontes and true freshmen Aislynn Crowder and Michaela Rosenbaum. Jillian Martinez, Isabel Loza and Kaila Novak have each played in two games. Madelyn Desiano, who has missed the last two seasons with ACL injuries, made her long-awaited debut against San Diego, playing 24 minutes.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
Arizona is coming off a 3-0 win over Northern Arizona, where Jada Talley contributed a goal and assist. Talley, a first-team All-Pac-12 forward in 2019, has seven points this season, two behind team-leader Jill Aguilar, who has totaled nine points off four goals and one assist. Goalkeeper Hope Hisey has a 0.26 goals against average and two solo shutouts.
Senior Karina Rodriguez is the latest Bruin to earn a call-up with the fulll national team, earning her first cap with Mexico on Feb. 23. Rodriguez started in a 0-0 tie against Costa Rica. Maricarmen Reyes earned her first invitation to Mexico's National Team camp in January, and Mia Fishel attended a 10-day training camp with the U.S. Women's National Team in October. All three players have extensive Youth National Team experience. Rodriguez played for the U.S. at the 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship and 2016 FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup. Reyes started for Mexico in the 2018 FIFA U-20 World Cup, and Fishel won the Golden Ball at the 2020 Concacaf U-20 Championships and the 2016 Concacaf U-15 Championships.