UCLA Drops UC Irvine, 3-1, in Season Opener
LOS ANGELES – No. 5 UCLA used a three-goal blitz in the first half to down UC Irvine, 3-1, in both teams' season opener.
Just two and a half minutes into the contest, senior Maricarmen Reyes notched the first goal of the 2021 campaign, volleying a cross from Brianne Riley past UC Irvine goalkeeper Taesja Paopao.
Maricarmen Reyes with the volley to get the 2021 season off to a great start! 😍
— UCLA Women's Soccer (@UCLAWSoccer) August 19, 2021
Sophomore Reilyn Turner made it 2-0 at 14:28 with the help of Madelyn Desiano, who also assisted on the first goal. Desiano sent a ball in to Mia Fishel in the box that bounced off a charging Paopao's hands right to Turner, who one-timed it into the back of the net.
Turner and Fishel continued to cause problems for the Anteater defense. In the 19th minute, Turner passed to Fishel in traffic, and Fishel toed it off the crossbar. The rebound came right to her in front of the goal, and she easily headed it in to make it 3-0 Bruins.
The Bruins kept control over the game for most of the second half until the Anteaters got on the board at 88:59 after Laila El Behery drew out goalkeeper Hannah Mitchell before sending a pass to Sophie Gillies for the goal. UCLA nearly scored just seconds later on a shot by Jillian Martinez that beat the goalkeeper but hit the right post. Megan Edelman had a chance on the rebound, but her shot was cleared out by defender Kiera Smeenge.
Senior Lauren Brzykcy earned the victory, playing 45 shutout minutes and recording one save. Mitchell made her UCLA debut at the start of the second half and made two saves. Her second save in the 82nd minute was an incredible play during which she sprinted from the top of the box all the way back to the goal line, diving to the right post to push the ball out just before it crossed the line.
HOW, Hannah Mitchell?!?! 🤯
What. A. Save.
— UCLA Women's Soccer (@UCLAWSoccer) August 20, 2021
UCLA (1-0) will continue play this weekend at Cal State Fullerton, taking on the Titans on Sunday, Aug. 22 at 5pm at Titan Stadium. Admission to the game is free with registration at fullertontitans.com.