Women's Soccer Hosts Final Home Games This Weekend
No. 21 Washington State (5-1-1, 1-0-1) vs. No. 5 UCLA (8-1-1, 5-1-0)
Friday, Apr. 2, 2021 – 6 p.m. PT
Los Angeles, Calif. (Wallis Annenberg Stadium)
TV: Pac-12 Washington; Radio: ucla.leanplayer.com
No. 19 Washington (7-1-2, 3-1-2) vs. No. 5 UCLA (8-1-1, 5-1-0)
Sunday, Apr. 4, 2021 – 2 p.m. PT
Los Angeles, Calif. (Wallis Annenberg Stadium)
TV: Pac-12 Networks; Radio: ucla.leanplayer.com
No. 5 UCLA (8-1-1, 5-1-0 in the Pac-12) hosts its final two home games this weekend. The Bruins will welcome No. 21 Washington State (5-1-1, 1-0-1) on Friday, Apr. 2 at 6pm and No. 19 Washington (7-1-2, 3-1-2) on Sunday, Apr. 4 at 2pm. Both games will be televised on Pac-12 Networks and available on the Pac-12 Now app. Fans can also listen to a live radio broadcast on ucla.leanplayer.com.
Due to local and state health guidelines, both games, along with all UCLA Athletics competitions, will be hosted in a spectator-free environment. For updates regarding in-person attendance at UCLA Athletics events, please check UCLABruins.com.
UCLA will honor the seniors at Sunday's home finale. Senior Day festivities will take place at 1:45pm and will be available to watch on Instagram live. Follow @UCLAWSoccer on Instagram at www.instagram.com/uclawsoccer. Bruin seniors being honored will be student manager Ketzia Jimenez and student-athletes Lucy Parker, Jacey Pederson, Karina Rodriguez, Delanie Sheehan and Viviana Villacorta. This senior class has played in two College Cups in three years, including the championship game in 2017. They have a 62-12-7 overall record (.809 winning percentage) heading into the week.
LAST TIME OUT
The Bruins' nine-game unbeaten streak was snapped last Friday after a 2-1 overtime loss to Arizona State. The Sun Devils scored in the 99th minute with a man advantage after Kennedy Faulknor was red-carded late in the second half. UCLA had led 1-0 after Kaila Novak scored her first collegiate goal in the 17th minute, but ASU tied it up in the 83rd minute after a ball was deflected off a Bruin defender into the back of the net.
UCLA still remains atop the Pac-12 standings with a 2.55 points per game average. The Pac-12 standings this season are based on points per game due to potential game cancellations for Covid-19 protocols. The 5-1-0 Bruins are .15 points ahead of second-place Stanford, who sits at 4-1-0 (2.4 ppg). Arizona State (3-0-2, 2.2 ppg) and Washington State (1-0-1, 2.0 ppg) are the only teams without a loss in Pac-12 play but are in third and fourth place, respectively.
UCLA has dominated the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week award this season, with four different players winning the award. No other school has more than one winner this year. The most recent honoree was Week 7 winner freshman Michaela Rosenbaum, who made a huge defensive play in the 2-2 draw with USC on Mar. 18, clearing a shot off the line while protecting the right post on a corner kick. Other defensive winners for UCLA have been Lucy Parker (Week 1), Jacey Pederson (Week 5) and Karina Rodriguez (Week 6).
Freshman Reilyn Turner has made a big impression early on in her collegiate career, leading the team in scoring with 12 points and five goals and tying for the team lead in game-winning-goals (two). Turner scored the game-tying goal in the 86th minute against USC to help keep UCLA's unbeaten streak intact and had a brace at Utah, scoring both goals in a 2-0 victory. She has scored three of UCLA's last five goals. 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.
NOVAK HEATING UP
Freshman Kaila Novak has found her groove, recording a goal or assist in each of her last three games. Novak recorded her first collegiate point with a sizzling assist to Reilyn Turner in the 3-0 Utah win, assisted on the equalizer against USC and then scored her first goal against Arizona State, following through on a Mia Fishel shot that hit the post. Novak,a starter on Canada's Under-20 National Team, has played in nine games this season, with five starts, including starts in the Bruins' last two games.
Senior midfielder Marley Canales has scored three penalty kick goals for the Bruins this season, including the game-winner in overtime against Oregon State, and is a perfect 6-for-6 from the penalty spot in her career. That tally doesn't even include the deciding penalty kick she hit in the 2017 NCAA semifinal shootout. Canales ranks second on the team in scoring with 10 points and first in assists with four. 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. Three of her four assists this season have come off set pieces - two corner kicks and a free kick.
TIME TO SHINE
Redshirt freshman Sunshine Fontes has been a ray of light for the Bruins this season, scoring four goals off the bench. She recorded her first multi-goal game as a Bruin against Oregon, scoring two impressive goals, including the game-winner. Fontes also scored the game-winner against BYU in the home opener. Fontes, who was the all-time leading scorer for the U.S. Under-17 National Team with 24 goals, tore her ACL in 2019 at the end of her high school season and missed the entire 2019 season. She made her UCLA debut in the 2020-21 season opener, playing 22 minutes at Pepperdine. She has gradually increased her minutes played and logged 59 minutes while earning her first start against Oregon State, and she played in a season-high 73 minutes against USC while recording five shots.
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 has scored four goals this season and is tied for second in points with 10. She already has 18 goals and eight game-winning goals in a little over one season and needs just two more game-winners to move into UCLA's Top 10 list for career game-winning goals. 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.
SHEEHAN SENIOR CLASS AWARD CANDIDATE
Senior midfielder Delanie Sheehan has been selected as one of 30 candidates for the 2020-21 Senior CLASS Award® for women's soccer. The award honors student-athletes who excel both on and off the field. Sheehan has played in 79 games for UCLA and started 63 while recording 13 goals and 16 assists. She earned All-Pac-12 honors in 2018 and Pac-12 All-Freshman honors in 2017 and was also selected to Top Drawer Soccer's Freshman Best XI first team. After being converted from a midfielder to a defender in 2018 and 2019, Sheehan earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors twice and contributed to 25 shutouts. She has moved back to midfield as the 10 in 2020-21 and contributed two goals and three assists in nine games. In the classroom, Sheehan has compiled a 3.0+ cumulative GPA, including a 3.7 GPA for the 2019-20 academic year, and in the community she has over 100 volunteer hours with a local soccer club and participated in UCLA's Dribble for the Cure, the Soccer United Against Hunger food drive in 2020 and elementary school visits in support of Reading Across America.
After missing three games while on Mexican National Team duty, senior defender Karina Rodriguez made a welcomed return to the pitch against Oregon State on Mar. 7, playing 65 minutes and taking three shots. She earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors after helping the Bruins post a pair of shutouts at Colorado and Utah and played the full 110 in a 2-2 tie with USC. Rodriguez started UCLA's first two games before being called up for a pair of games against Costa Rica. She started in the second game on Feb. 23 and helped Mexico record a shutout in a 0-0 tie.
ACL GANG COMING BACK STRONG
Eight of UCLA's 21 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. She has started every game for the Bruins this season. Marley Canales tore her ACL on Oct. 13, 2019 and came back with a three-assist game in the season opener and has three goals this year. 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 is tied for second on the team in goals scored with four after her two-goal performance against Oregon. Additionally, a ninth 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.
Nine Bruins made their collegiate debuts in the first three games, with three freshmen getting at least four starts. Michaela Rosenbaum has started in the last eight games, Reilyn Turner has eight starts, and Megan Edelman has four. All three have played in each game, along with redshirt freshman Sunshine Fontes. Kaila Novak has started five games and has played in nine games overall. Aislynn Crowder has played in seven games and earned her first start against Arizona State. Madelyn Desiano, who missed the last two seasons with ACL injuries, and true freshman Jillian Martinez have played in four games each, while Isabel Loza has played in two.
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, starting 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.
SCOUTING THE COUGARS
Washington State is nearly back to full strength after injuries and Covid-19 protocols forced the cancellation of four Pac-12 matches. The Cougars resumed Pac-12 play on Mar. 27 and posted a 1-0 overtime win at Colorado. Washington State has allowed just four goals this season, with Marissa Zucchetto posting a 0.55 goals against average and four shutouts. Elyse Bennett leads the team with five goals and 11 points. The Cougars advanced to the College Cup semifinals for the first-time ever in 2019. Their semifinal run was the deepest postseason run in the history of WSU Athletics in the NCAAs.
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES
Washington will play at USC on Friday before facing off against the Bruins. Entering the week, the Huskies have won three in a row and are undefeated on the road this season. Additionally, they have not allowed multiple goals in a game this year and hold a 0.48 team goals against average with five shutouts. Olivia Sekany leads the Pac-12 with a 0.43 goals against average and is currently on a 174-minute shutout streak. Summer Yates (3g, 3a) and Ruby Hellstrom (3g, 2a) lead the Huskies in scoring.