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Pac-12-Leading Bruins Head to Bay Area

Apr 8, 2021
Olivia Athens

No. 4 UCLA (10-1-1, 7-1-0) at California (5-4-1, 3-4-0)
Friday, Apr. 9, 2021 – 12 p.m. PT
Berkeley, Calif. (Witter Rugby Field)
Live Stream:

No. 4 UCLA (10-1-1, 7-1-0) at Stanford (5-5-1, 4-3-0)
Sunday, Apr. 11, 2021 – 2 p.m. PT
Stanford, Calif. (Cagan Stadium)
TV: Pac-12 Networks

No. 4 UCLA (10-1-1, 7-1-0 in the Pac-12) heads to the Bay Area with a chance to clinch the Pac-12 title with a pair of victories. UCLA will first play at California (5-4-1, 3-4-0) on Friday, Apr. 9 at 12pm. The game will be live streamed at On Sunday, Apr. 11, the Bruins will play at Stanford at 2pm on Pac-12 Networks in a rematch of the 2019 College Cup semifinals.

With a 7-1-0 record in Pac-12 play, the Bruins are in control of their own destiny in the Pac-12 championship race with just two weeks to play in the regular season. UCLA has a 2.6 points per game average, ahead of second-place Arizona State (4-1-2), who averages 2.0 points per game, and USC (5-3-0), who has 1.9 points per game. The Bruins could clinch the title as early as Friday with a win at Cal, coupled with losses by Arizona State and USC. A pair of wins against Cal and Stanford would also give UCLA the title. Arizona State will play at Utah on Friday and at Colorado on Sunday, while USC will play at Stanford Friday and at Cal Sunday.

Sunday's game against Stanford will be the fourth consecutive UCLA-Stanford match played in the Bay Area. The last matchup was played in San Jose at the College Cup, and the last two regular season matchups have been played in Stanford. UCLA's last win in Stanford came in 2013, 2-1 in overtime.

UCLA has several players on the roster from Northern California - Kylie Kerr (Alamo), Michaela Rosenbaum (Santa Rosa), Olivia Athens (Atherton), Delanie Sheehan (Brentwood), Jacey Pederson (Palo Alto), Cassidy Tshimbalanga (Alamo), Megan Edelman (Danville), and Janae DeFazio (El Dorado Hills).

UCLA earned a pair of shutouts over the Washington schools last week, beating No. 21 Washington State, 4-0, and No. 19 Washington, 1-0. The Bruins scored three goals in the first 15 minutes of the half in the win over the Cougars. Freshman Reilyn Turner recorded her second career brace, and Mia Fishel and Sunshine Fontes each added a goal and an assist. An eighth minute goal by senior Karina Rodriguez held up in the Senior Day win over the Huskies, and goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy picked up her seventh shutout of the year.

In her first year as the full-time starter, redshirt junior goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy has been outstanding, leading the Pac-12 in goals against average (0.56), goals against (seven), shutouts (seven), save percentage (.873) and wins (10). On the national level, she ranks fifth in shutouts and 24th in save percentage. She has won Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week honors twice this season.

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). Additionally, Brianne Riley was named to College Soccer News' Team of the Week on Week 4.

Freshman Reilyn Turner has made a big impression early on in her collegiate career, leading the team in scoring with 17 points and seven goals. She leads all Pac-12 freshmen in those scoring categories and is the conference's No. 3 goal-scorer and No. 4 point-scorer. Turner has recorded two multiple-goal games this season, netting two against Washington State and at Utah. In UCLA's last five games, she has recorded five goals and one assist. 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.

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 leads the Bruins in assists with five and ranks fourth in scoring with 11 points and three goals. 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.

Redshirt freshman Sunshine Fontes has been a ray of light for the Bruins this season, scoring five goals off the bench, tying for second on the team in goals scored. She also has two assists on the year and ranks third on the team in scoring with 12 points. Fontes recorded her first multi-goal game as a Bruin against Oregon, scoring two impressive goals, including the game-winner. She 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 five goals this season to rank tied for second on the team, and she also ranks second in points with 13 and first in game-winning goals with three. In two seasons, she already has 19 goals and nine game-winning goals and needs just one more game-winner 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.

Senior midfielder Delanie Sheehan has been selected as a finalist 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 81 games for UCLA and started 65 while recording 13 goals and 17 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 four assists in 11 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.

Nine of UCLA's 26 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 and a team-high five assists 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 five and is one of two Bruin players this season to record a multiple-goal game, scoring two against Oregon. Additionally, a 10th 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 10 games, Reilyn Turner has 10 starts, and Megan Edelman has four. Rosenbaum, Turner and redshirt freshman Sunshine Fontes have played in all 12 games this season. Edelman has played in 11 games, along with Kaila Novak, who has seven starts. Aislynn Crowder has played in nine games and earned her first start against Arizona State. Madelyn Desiano, who missed the last two seasons with ACL injuries, has played in six games. True freshmen Jillian Martinez and Isabel Loza have played in five and two games, respectively.

Senior Karina Rodriguez was 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. Rodriguez missed three games early in the season while with the national team but came back off the bench against Oregon State on Mar. 7 and has started every game since. 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.

California is coming off a road split at the Arizona schools, handing ASU its first Pac-12 loss, 2-1 in double overtime, before falling 1-0 to Arizona. The Bears are led by a pair of MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List players in goalkeeper Angelina Anderson and defender Emily Smith. Anderson was the 2019 Pac-12 Goalkeeper and Freshman of the Year and ranked in the Top 25 nationally with a 0.851 save percentage. This year, she holds a 0.879 save percentage and 0.69 goals against average to go along with five shutouts. Emma Westin is Cal's leading scorer with three goals and nine points.

Stanford is 5-5-1 overall this season but 4-1-0 at home. The Cardinal was swept at Arizona last weekend, falling 2-1 at Arizona and 2-0 at Arizona State. Stanford is led in scoring by Samantha Williams, who has three goals and seven points, and Civana Kuhlmann, who is tied for the Pac-12 lead with three game-winning goals. Cardinal freshmen have combined for seven of the team's 16 goals and 17 of its 39 points. Stanford has three players on the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List - Kuhlmann, Kiki Pickett and Madison Haley. Pickett was the No. 4 overall pick in the NWSL Draft.

UCLA's regular season finale against USC on Friday, Apr. 16 has been moved from 8pm to 4pm. The game will take place at the Los Angeles Coliseum and will be televised on Pac-12 Los Angeles.