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UCLA Battles Clemson in NCAA Round of 16 Wednesday

May 3, 2021
Brianne Riley

No. 3 UCLA (13-1-2) vs. No. 6 Clemson (12-4-1)
NCAA Third Round
Date/Time: Wednesday, May 5, 2021 – 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT
Location: Cary, N.C. (WakeMed Field #4)
Live Stats:

No. 3 overall seed UCLA (13-1-2) continues its tournament run with a third round game against No. 14 seed Clemson (12-4-1) on Wednesday, May 5 at 6pm ET/3pm PT. The game will take place at WakeMed Field #4 in Cary, N.C.

For the second-straight season, UCLA and Clemson meet up in the Bruins' second NCAA tournament game. On Nov. 22, 2019, the two teams met in the NCAA second round in Los Angeles, with UCLA securing a dominant 5-0 victory behind a pair of goals by Mia Fishel and a one goal, one assist effort by Kali Trevithick. Seven of Clemson's starters are back from that contest, while four starters are on UCLA's active roster. The Bruins and Tigers also met in the 2000 NCAA Quarterfinals in Clemson, a 2-1 UCLA victory that sent the Bruins to their first-ever College Cup.

With deep runs in the NCAA Tournament in each of the last five seasons, UCLA now has 24 players on its roster who have seen NCAA action, including 11 who have played in at least five tournament games. Two seniors - Delanie Sheehan and Karina Rodriguez - have played in 16 tournament games, with Rodriguez starting in all 16.

Down a goal with five minutes to play, UCLA came from behind in stunning fashion to defeat Iowa, 2-1, in a NCAA second round game at Campbell University. Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Reilyn Turner scored both goals in the final five minutes, tying it up at 84:47 and scoring the game-winner at 89:30. Iowa led for nearly 80 minutes of the game after Hawkeyes' leading scorer Meike Ingles scored in the sixth minute. The Bruins had 18 shots in the game before Turner put the Bruins on the board and outshot the Hawkeyes, 23-9.

Sophomore forward Kali Trevithick and freshman defender Dasia Torbert recovered from fall injuries just in time for the Bruins' postseason run. Each made their 2020-21 season debut in the second half of UCLA's NCAA second round win over Iowa. Torbert started and played the second half for the Bruins at central defense, while Trevithick played nine minutes. Trevithick, who scored two goals with two assists in 10 games played last season, and Torbert are both U.S. Youth National Team members.

UCLA clinched the 2020-21 Pac-12 Women's Soccer Championship on Apr. 9 with two games to play after a 3-1 win over California coupled with a USC tie and Arizona State loss later in the day. The Bruins finished 9-1-1 in conference play and posted their best conference record since going 10-0-1 in 2014. This is UCLA's 12th Pac-12 Conference title and first since 2014. It is the third Pac-12 championship for head coach Amanda Cromwell, who previously won in 2013 and 2014.

The Pac-12 champion Bruins flexed their muscles in the year-end women's soccer conference awards, as head coach Amanda Cromwell was voted the Coach of the Year, Delanie Sheehan received Midfielder of the Year acclaim, Lauren Brzykcy was tabbed the Goalkeeper of the Year, and Reilyn Turner earned Freshman of the Year honors. UCLA also had six players on the all-conference teams and a league-high three on the all-freshman team. Earning first-team all-conference honors were Sheehan, Brzycky, Turner, Mia Fishel and Karina Rodriguez. Marley Canales received second-team acclaim. Named to the All-Freshman team were Turner, Sunshine Fontes and Kaila Novak. The Pac-12 Coach of the Year award was the second for Cromwell, who previously won in 2014. Sheehan is UCLA's first-ever winner of the Midfielder of the Year award. Brzykcy is the second Bruin to win the Goalkeeper of the Year award, joining Katelyn Rowland, who won the inaugural award in 2014. Turner is the fifth Bruin to earn Freshman of the Year honors and first since Darian Jenkins in 2013.

Senior CLASS Award finalist Delanie Sheehan has been top of class for the Bruins in all facets. This season, the Pac-12 Midfielder of the Year has recorded four goals with five assists, ranking fourth on the team in scoring with 13 points. Against Stanford, she assisted on the tying goal in the 77th minute and scored the game-winner in the 91st minute to secure UCLA's first win over the Cardinal in seven years. Sheehan has played in 85 career games for UCLA and started 69 while recording 15 goals and 18 assists. She has earned All-Pac-12 twice (2020-21, 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. 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.

Freshman Reilyn Turner has made a huge impression early on in her collegiate career, leading the Pac-12 in scoring with 26 points and 11 goals. The Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and first-team All-Pac-12 honoree has recorded three multiple-goal games this season, netting two against Washington State and at Utah before saving UCLA's season with two goals in the final five minutes of the game to beat Iowa 2-1 in the NCAA second round. In UCLA's last nine games, she has recorded nine goals and two assists. Turner has a propensity for late-game equalizing goals, scoring the tying goal in the 85th minute and winning goal in the 90th minute against Iowa, the tying goal in the 86th minute against USC to send the game to overtime, and the equalizer in the 77th minute at Stanford in a 2-1 overtime win. 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.

Sophomore forward Mia Fishel has picked up where she left off last season when she led the team with 14 goals scored. Fishel, a first-team All-Pac-12 selection, ranks second on the team in scoring with six goals and 18 points and is tied for the team lead with six assists. Additionally, she leads the Pac-12 with four game-winning goals. In two seasons, she already has 20 goals, half of which are game-winners. She needs one more game-winner to move into UCLA's Top 10. 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 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, who earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors, leads the team with six assists and ranks third in scoring with 14 points. 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. Four of her five assists this season have come off set pieces - three corner kicks and a free kick. She also scored a goal directly on a corner kick at California.

Redshirt freshman forward Sunshine Fontes has been a ray of light for the Bruins this season, scoring five goals off the bench and ranking third on the team in goals (five) and fourth in points (13). Fontes, who earned Pac-12 All-Freshman honors, 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 logged 59 minutes while earning her first start against Oregon State, and she played in a season-high 73 minutes in the home game against USC, while recording five shots.

In her first year as the full-time starter, redshirt junior goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy has been outstanding, leading the Pac-12 in shutouts (seven), and wins (13) and ranking second in goals against average (0.72) and save percentage (.846). On the national level, she ranks fifth in shutouts and 24th in save percentage. The Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Year and two-time Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week winner, Brzykcy had six games in which she totaled five or more saves this season, including a nine-save effort against USC on Mar. 18 and an eight-save game on Apr. 16, also against the Trojans. Brzykcy, who has played in every minute of every game this season, ranks 10th on UCLA's single-season chart with 66 saves and ninth on the career chart with 92 saves. Her 21 career victories rank ninth on UCLA's career list.

Freshmen Aislynn Crowder and Reilyn Turner's connection has been evident on the field, as all three of Crowder's assists this season have come on Turner goals, including the equalizer against Iowa. The duo formed a close friendship while playing together on the U.S. Youth National Team level, and Crowder came from Hawaii to live with Turner while playing as a guest player for SoCal Blues.

UCLA dominated the Pac-12 Player of the Week awards this season, with a conference-best seven different players receiving a total of eight awards. The Bruins were particularly dominant in the Defensive Player of the Week category, with four different players - Lucy Parker, Jacey Pederson, Karina Rodriguez and Michaela Rosenbaum - winning the award. No other school had more than two winners this year. Lauren Brzykcy won Goalkeeper of the Week twice, and Mia Fishel and Olivia Athens each received Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Ten of UCLA's 35 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 four goals and a team-high six 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 third 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, two other goals have been 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 and added a second goal, a late-game tying goal at USC on Apr. 16.

Nine freshmen have seen action for the Bruins this season, with three receiving Pac-12 All-Freshman acclaim - Sunshine Fontes, Kaila Novak and Freshman of the Year Reilyn Turner. Three rookies have played in every game this year - Fontes, Turner and Michaela Rosenbaum - with the latter two starting 14 games each. Kaila Novak has started in 11 games and played in 15. Aislynn Crowder has played in 13 games with one start, and Megan Edelman has played in 12 games with four starts. Jillian Martinez and Isabel Loza have played in six and three games, respectively, and Dasia Torbert made her season debut against Iowa on Friday. Additionally, redshirt sophomore Madelyn Desiano, who has missed the last two seasons with ACL injuries, has played in 10 games and logged a career-high 66 minutes at USC on Apr. 16.

Five Bruin players have started in all 16 games this season - Olivia Athens, Lauren Brzykcy, Marley Canales, Jacey Pederson and Brianne Riley. Last season, due to depth at their position, along with injuries, these five players totaled a combined 18 starts, 13 coming from Canales alone before her season ended prematurely due to an ACL injury. Three other players have played in all 16 games this season - freshmen Reilyn Turner, Sunshine Fontes and Michaela Rosenbaum. Brzykcy has played in all 1,499 minutes, and Riley leads all field players with 1,409 minutes played.

Clemson played a split season, going 6-0 in the spring after a 6-4 fall campaign. In their NCAA second round game, the 14th-seeded Tigers tied Rutgers, 1-1, and advanced on penalty kicks, 5-3. Megan Bornkamp leads Clemson with eight goals, followed closely by Caroline Conti, who has seven, and Maliah Morris, who scored her sixth goal of the year against Rutgers.

Three members of the Bruin squad have been called up to their respective full national teams this school year. Senior Karina Rodriguez was the latest to earn a call-up, recording her first cap with Mexico on Feb. 23 after 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.

UCLA is one of the few programs in the nation coached by an all-female staff. Leading the Bruins are head coach Amanda Cromwell, associate head coach Sam Greene, assistant coach Jane Alukonis and goalkeeper coach Saskia Webber. Cromwell is the 2020-21 Pac-12 Coach of the Year and ranks in the Top 20 in the NCAA in both win percentage and total wins. In eight seasons as head coach at UCLA, Cromwell has guided UCLA to three College Cups, five quarterfinals and six Round of 16 appearances, along with three Pac-12 titles and the 2013 NCAA title. Cromwell and Webber played together on the U.S. National Team, with both on the 1995 World Cup squad and alternates on the 1996 Olympic team. Webber was also a member of the legendary 1999 World Cup championship squad. Both Greene and Alukonis were standout scholar-athletes at Northwestern and Duke, respectively.