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Pac-12 Race Heats Up as Bruins Host Stanford, Cal

Oct 27, 2021
Maricarmen Reyes

No. 5 UCLA (13-0-3, 5-0-3) vs. No. 9 Stanford (12-3-1, 6-1-1)
Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021 – 7 p.m. PT
Los Angeles, Calif. (Wallis Annenberg Stadium)

TV Broadcast: Pac-12 Networks
TV Talent: Christian Miles
Audio Broadcast:
Audio Talent: Nick Koop
Live Stats:

Price: $10 adults/$5 youth (3-16); UCLA students free with BruinCard
Parking: purchase in advance on Park Mobile app

No. 5 UCLA (13-0-3, 5-0-3) vs. California (8-4-3, 4-3-1)
Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021 – 2 p.m. PT
Los Angeles, Calif. (Wallis Annenberg Stadium)

TV Broadcast: Pac-12 Networks
TV Talent: Christian Miles
Audio Broadcast:
Audio Talent: Nick Koop
Live Stats:

Price: $10 adults/$5 youth (3-16); UCLA students free with BruinCard; All youth in Halloween costume receive free admission
Parking: purchase in advance on Park Mobile app

Fifth-ranked UCLA (13-0-3, 5-0-3 in the Pac-12) will host ninth-ranked Stanford (12-3-1, 6-1-1) for the first time in four years, welcoming the Cardinal to Wallis Annenberg Stadium for a Top 10 matchup on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 7pm. Thursday's game is UCLA's Breast Cancer Awareness game, and fans are encouraged to wear pink.

The 2021 senior class and departing Bruins will be honored on Sunday, Oct. 31 at 1:45pm before their 2pm game against California (8-4-3, 4-3-1). The players taking part in the pregame ceremonies are Olivia Athens, Marley Canales, Kennedy Faulknor, Mia Fishel, Shana Flynn, Maricarmen Reyes, Idalia Serrano and Cassidy Tshimbalanga. UCLA will also honor graduating managers Kian Abbassi and Leo Jaffe.

Just two points separate the Pac-12's top three teams, and all three will face each other head-to-head in the final two weeks of the regular season. Sitting atop the Pac-12 currently is USC with 20 points, followed by Stanford with 19 and UCLA with 18. UCLA and Stanford will play each other on Thursday in Los Angeles. USC hosts Stanford on Sunday, and UCLA hosts USC in the regular season finale on Friday, Nov. 5. The Bruins are the defending Pac-12 champion, having dethroned Stanford from its five-year reign last season.

UCLA moved up three spots to fifth in the United Soccer Coaches poll and retained the third spot in the Top Drawer Soccer national rankings. The Bruins have been ranked in the Top 10 of the coaches poll in 19 consecutive weeks.

UCLA used two first-half goals and a big performance in goal by senior Lauren Brzykcy to defeat Washington, 3-1, in rainy Seattle on Oct. 21. Mia Fishel scored two goals, and Brzykcy was a brick wall, making eight saves. The Bruins also scored early at Washington State on Oct. 24, with Kennedy Faulknor hitting a left-footed bomb in the 15th minute, but the Cougars scored a second-half equalizer, and the game finished in a 1-1 tie.

After the 1-1 tie at Washington State, the Bruins remain unbeaten this season with a 13-0-3 record. UCLA's unbeaten streak now stands at 23 matches, with the Bruins' last loss coming at the hands of Arizona State on Mar. 26, 2021.

Junior forward Mia Fishel earned her third Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honor of the season after a two-goal, two-assist performance at the Washington schools. Fishel contributed to every goal UCLA scored this past week as the Bruins extended their unbeaten streak to 23 games. The All-American scored two goals, including the game-winner, and assisted on the game's first goal in the Bruins' 3-1 win at Washington. At Washington State, she assisted on the game's first goal in a 1-1 tie. Fishel leads the Bruins with 11 goals and 25 points and leads the Pac-12 Conference with five game-winning goals.

Stanford is 12-3-1 overall and 6-1-1 in Pac-12 play, standing just one point behind conference leader USC and one point ahead of third-place UCLA in the league standings. The Cardinal swept the Arizona schools last week, shutting out the Sun Devils, 2-0, and the Wildcats, 4-0. Maya Doms leads the team in scoring with 10 goals and 22 points and ranks tied for third in the Pac-12 in goals scored. As a team, Stanford ranks second in the Pac-12 in goals scored (41) and shutouts (9) and third in goals against average (0.68).

California enters the week with an 8-4-3 overall and 4-3-1 Pac-12 record. The Golden Bears have won three straight 1-0 games going into their Thursday matchup at USC. Freshman Karlie Lema leads the team in scoring with six goals and 12 points and is the lone Cal player in double-figure points. Goalkeeper Angelina Anderson, the 2019 Pac-12 Freshman and Goalkeeper of the Year, has seven shutouts and a 0.68 goals against average. Cal's defense ranks fourth in the conference with a 0.69 goals against average, but their offense ranks 10th in goals scored with 17.

Senior goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy is having another fantastic season. The 2020 All-American has allowed just nine goals in 1,432 minutes and has seven solo shutouts (and one shared) to improve her career solo shutout total to 18, sixth on UCLA's career shutout list. She is also seventh on the UCLA career victories list with 34. Brzykcy ranks second in the Pac-12 in shutouts (25th nationally), goals against average with a 0.566 GAA (13th nationally) and save percentage (0.868, also 13th nationally). Brzykcy has earned Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week honors twice this season, and in the Bruins' 1-0 win over defending NCAA champion Santa Clara, she tied her career-high with nine saves on 18 shots. She also set up the game-winning goal in that game with a long service that found its way to Madelyn Desiano, who connected with Reilyn Turner for the goal.

UCLA's back line of Madelyn Desiano/Quincy McMahon, Kylie Kerr, Lilly Reale and Brianne Riley entered this season with a total of 18 career starts (all by Riley) and 56 games played, but the inexperience has hardly shown. The back line has contributed to eight shutouts in 16 games and a team goals against average of 0.591 (17th-best in the nation, second in the conference). They have allowed single-digit shots in 10 games and four or less in six games and have also contributed offensively. Desiano leads the Pac-12 in assists with nine, McMahon is third in the conference with seven assists and also has one goal, Kerr has one assist, Reale has one goal and one assist, and Riley has recorded one goal with two assists.

The Bruins boast one of the most formidable 1-2 punches in the country in forwards Mia Fishel (11 goals) and Reilyn Turner (nine goals). They have totaled 20 goals this season, with Fishel scoring eight in her last 10 games and Turner scoring eight in her last 13, including a hat trick in the Bruins' 3-0 win at LMU on Sept. 5. The dynamic duo have scored 57% (20 of 35) of UCLA's total goals this year.

Redshirt junior defender Madelyn Desiano continues to lead the Pac-12 in assists (nine) and assists per game (0.60). She is nationally-ranked 23rd and 18th, respectively, in those categories. The two-time Pac-12 Defender of the Week had a two-assist game in the season opener and recorded an assist in each of the first six games of the year. Desiano has started in 12 games this season, her first career starts after playing in 11 games last season and sitting out all of 2018 and 2019 while recovering from season-ending knee surgeries. Freshman Quincy McMahon ranks just below Desiano at third in the Pac-12 with seven assists. McMahon is tied for first in the Pac-12 with five assists in league play.

UCLA has scored in the first 10 minutes of the game six times this season and has scored 10 goals in the first 15 minutes of play. The Bruins have scored 25 of their 35 goals in the first half and have scored the game's first goal in every game. Bruin opponents have scored in the first half in just two games for a total of four goals.

UCLA held an eight-game shutout streak from Aug. 22-Sept. 24. The streak was snapped after 793 minutes on Sept. 30 at Arizona in the 52nd minute.The streak was UCLA's longest since the 2014 team had a school record-tying 10 in a row from Oct. 13-Nov. 23. Goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy had her shutout streak snapped at 849 minutes, just 120 minutes shy of Katelyn Rowland's school record of 969 consecutive shutout minutes set in 2014.

Bruin senior Maricarmen Reyes is back in Los Angeles after missing last week while playing with the Mexican National Team against Argentina. Reyes started in the 6-1 Mexico victory. It was her second call-up during the season; she missed three games in mid-September for Mexico's friendly against Colombia, during which she scored her first international goal, the game-winner in a 2-0 victory for Mexico. A little over a week later, she returned to score the game-winning goal for UCLA at Arizona. Senior goalkeeper Idalia Serrano also enjoyed a September call-up with El Salvador's national team and started in a 6-0 training game victory over Santa Tecla FC on Sept. 20.

A quartet of fifth-year players - graduate students Olivia Athens and Marley Canales and fifth-year seniors Lauren Brzykcy and Kennedy Faulknor - are bringing veteran leadership to the Bruins in 2021. Athens is enrolled in UCLA's Master of Legal Studies program, and Canales is enrolled in UCLA's Graduate School of Education, pursuing a master's degree in transformative coaching and leadership. Brzykcy and Faulknor are wrapping up their sociology degrees. The fifth-years have played a combined 267 games for UCLA. Canales and Brzykcy have started all 16 of UCLA's games this season, and Athens has started in 15. All four super seniors started for UCLA in its last three games. Each of the three field players have scored a goal this year, with Athens and Faulknor leading the way among the group with three goals each. Canales is right behind with two goals.

UCLA's No. 6-ranked recruiting class has been strong contributors to the team this season, with defenders Lilly Reale and Jayden Perry and midfielder Quincy McMahon starting in multiple games. Reale has started in 15 of 16 games, McMahon has eight starts and ranks second on the team and third in the Pac-12 with seven assists, and Perry and Wright each have two starts. Also seeing action this year have been Clara Härdling (four games played) and My Haugland Sørsdahl (three games played). Wright made her season debut at San Diego on Sept. 16 and set up the game-winning goal against the Toreros in her collegiate debut. Emma Egiizi played in the season opener and scored a goal in the exhibition against Pepperdine but is sidelined with a knee injury. Reale and McMahon are ranked in the Top 20 of Top Drawer Soccer's Midseason Top 100 Freshman list, with Reale sitting at No. 3 and McMahon No. 20.

As they have for most of the season, defender Madelyn Desiano is the Pac-12 leader in assists (9) and assists per game (0.60), and forward Mia Fishel is the Pac-12 leader with five game-winning goals. The Bruins lead the Pac-12 and are fourth nationally in W-L-T percentage (0.906).

All-Americans Lauren Brzykcy and Mia Fishel were named to the Hermann Trophy Women's Watch List for 2021 and have certainly lived up to the billing, with Bryzkcy ranking in the Top 25 nationally in shutouts (seven), goals against average (0.569) and save percentage (0.868) and Fishel ranking eighth in the nation in game-winning goals (five) and second in the Pac-12 in goals (11) and third in points (25). Fishel was a second-team All-American in 2020 after tying for the team lead with six assists and ranking second on the squad in goals (six) and points (18). She also led the Pac-12 with four game-winning goals. Last week, she moved into UCLA's Top 10 in career goals with 31, tying Sam Mewis for ninth all-time. Brzykcy, a third-team All-American, totaled seven shutouts and a 0.73 goals against average while playing every minute of every game last season. She was named the Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Year and earned first-team Scholar All-America honors. Brzykcy ranks in UCLA's Top 7 in career saves (153), shutouts (18) and wins (34).