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UCLA Beats USC 3-1 to Win Second-Straight Pac-12 Title

Nov 5, 2021
2021 Pac-12 Champions

LOS ANGELES – No. 3 UCLA claimed its second consecutive and 13th overall Pac-12 Championship after a 3-1 win over No. 8 USC Friday night at Wallis Annenberg Stadium.

Needing a victory to overtake USC for first place in the Pac-12 in the final conference game of the season, the Bruins did just that thanks to two first half goals and stellar defense that held the conference's top offensive team to just three shots on goal in the game.

UCLA (16-0-3, 8-0-3 in the Pac-12) scored two goals in a six-minute span to jump out to a 2-0 lead after 23 minutes. Sophomore forward Reilyn Turner scored the game's first goal at 17:06, pouncing on a deflected ball at the left post and slotting it in past USC goalkeeper Anna Smith. UCLA doubled its lead at 22:48 on a skillful goal by graduate student Olivia Athens. After receiving a flick from Turner, Athens flicked it to herself and then poked it with her left past Smith for her third career goal against USC.

With the Bruins holding a 2-0 advantage at the half, USC (13-3-2, 8-1-2) opened the half eager to get on the board. Just two minutes into the half, Savannah DeMelo took a shot off a free kick that was saved by UCLA goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy, but the Bruin defense kept the Trojans from taking another shot for 20 minutes. The Trojans got back into it in the 78th minute after earning a penalty kick on a foul on Hannah White in the box. Penelope Hocking converted the penalty kick to cut the lead in half.

Less than five minutes later, however, UCLA graduate student Marley Canales slammed the door shut with an Olimpico goal, scoring directly off the corner kick to put the Bruins back ahead by two goals with just seven and a half minutes to play. UCLA's defense held on in the final minutes, and the Bruins celebrated the cross-town and conference championship in front of the sold-out home crowd of 2,237.

The Bruins improved their unbeaten streak to 26 consecutive games and will take their unbeaten record into the NCAA Tournament as the Pac-12's automatic selection. The NCAA Selection Show will stream live on on Monday, Nov. 8 at 1:30pm PT.