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No. 3 Bruins Battle No. 1 North Carolina Sunday

Sep 3, 2022
Ally Lemos

No. 3 UCLA (4-0) at No. 1 North Carolina (5-0)
Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022 – 12pm ET / 9am PT
Chapel Hill, N.C. (Dorrance Field)
TV: ACC Network
Live Stats:

After a 2-1 victory at No. 2 Duke on Sept. 1, the No. 3 Bruins (4-0) will next challenge No. 1 North Carolina (5-0) on Sunday, Sept. 4 at 12pm ET/9am PT. This is UCLA's first matchup against a No. 1-ranked team since Aug. 29, 2019, when the Bruins beat No. 1 Florida State, 2-1, at Banc of California Stadium.

This is not the first time a No. 3-ranked Bruin team faced a top-ranked Tar Heel squad in North Carolina. This matchup also occured on Sept. 6, 2013, albeit on a neutral field at Duke. The Tar Heels came out on top, 1-0, on a 79th minute goal by Crystal Dunn. Two days later, UCLA played at Duke and won, 2-1, thanks to goals by Rosie White and Darian Jenkins. That loss to North Carolina was the only one by the Bruins that year. They beat the Tar Heels in a rematch at the NCAA quarterfinals and went on to win the program's first-ever NCAA title.

In the first of a pair of games this week against the Top 2 teams in the nation, No. 3 UCLA served notice with a 2-1 win at No. 2 Duke, UCLA's first win over a Top 2 team since beating No. 1 Florida State on Aug. 29, 2019. Forward Reilyn Turner had a hand in both goals, and goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy tied her career-high in saves with nine, including seven in the second half alone. Jayden Perry put UCLA in the lead in the 12th minute, converting a penalty kick after Turner was fouled in the box. Duke equalized in the 39th minute, snapping the Bruins' shutout streak at 308 minutes and continued to pepper the Bruin defense in the second half, forcing goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy into seven second-half saves. UCLA made the most of its opportunities, with Turner netting the game-winning goal in the 62nd minute.

After four games this season, UCLA is averaging just six shots allowed per game and a total of one goal allowed (0.25 goals against average). Graduate goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy holds a goals against average of 0.30 and has two solo shutouts and one shared shutout this year. She made a career-high-tying nine saves at Duke on Thursday and, with 175 career saves, is now just two away from tying CiCi Peterson (1998-2001) for fifth on UCLA's all-time list.

After a 6-0 win over CSUN and a 1-0 road win at Santa Clara last week, the Bruins earned a sweep of the Pac-12 Weekly Awards. Sunshine Fontes, who scored four goals, including a hat trick against CSUN, was named the Offensive Player of the Week. Maya Evans, who helped lead the defense to a pair of shutouts and scored a goal in the CSUN game, received Defensive Player of the Week honors. Lauren Brzykcy won her sixth career Goalkeeper of the Week nod after playing 120 shutout minutes for the Bruins. The sweep of the three weekly awards is the eighth in Pac-12 history and the first since Brzykcy, Kylie Kerr and Mia Fishel captured the awards on Sept. 20, 2021.

North Carolina holds down the No. 1 national ranking for the second consecutive week after a pair of shutout victories at Texas (2-0) and at Baylor (6-0). Like UCLA, the Tar Heels have allowed just one goal all season, in Thursday's 3-1 win at Missouri. North Carolina is outscoring its opponents 16-1, with 10 different players seeing the back of the net, led by Avery Patterson, who has scored five goals. The Tar Heels are the winningest program in NCAA women's soccer history, capturing 21 NCAA titles under head coach Anson Dorrance.

North Carolina has an 11-1-2 series advantage over UCLA, with the Bruins' only win coming in Chapel Hill in the 2013 NCAA quarterfinals. Taylor Smith scored the game's only goal in double overtime to send UCLA to the College Cup. The Bruins went on to win their first-ever NCAA title. The two teams last met in 2018, in Cary, again in the NCAA quarterfinals. UCLA rallied in the second half to tie the game at 2-2, but North Carolina prevailed in penalty kicks to move on to the College Cup.

Senior midfielder Sunshine Fontes has been a big bright spot for UCLA so far this season, totaling four goals, eight points and two game-winning goals in four games. Fontes recorded her first collegiate hat trick on Aug. 25, netting three goals in 48 minutes of action against CSUN. All three goals were well-hit bombs from outside the box, including a bending free kick from approximately 25 yards out to complete the hat trick. It was the 28th hat trick in program history, with Fontes becoming 21st UCLA player to record one and first since Reilyn Turner on Sept. 5, 2021 at LMU. She struck again on Aug. 28, scoring the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win at Santa Clara. Fontes, who is the all-time leading scorer for the U.S. U-17 National Team with 24 goals, won national player of the week honors from both Top Drawer Soccer and College Soccer News. She and Maya Evans were also selected to the Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week.

In just her third game as UCLA's head coach, Margueritte Aozasa faced off against her alma mater and one of her coaching mentors in head coach Jerry Smith and the Santa Clara Broncos. Aozasa, who was a four-year starter under Smith from 2008-11, led UCLA to victory, 1-0, on Aug. 28. Aozasa graduated from Santa Clara in 2012 with a major in psychology and minors in public health and Spanish.

All four of UCLA's goalkeepers saw action in the Bruins' 6-0 win over CSUN on Aug. 25. Lauren Brzykcy earned the victory, starting and playing 30 minutes before Kelly McManus replaced her for the remainder of the half with the Bruins up 3-0. McManus made one save in 15 minutes of action. In her first game back from the FIFA U-20 World Cup, freshman Neeku Purcell started the second half and played 35 minutes, making one save. Faith Nguyen made her collegiate debut, closing the game and preserving the clean sheet for the entire group.

UCLA moved up to No. 3 in the United Soccer Coaches rankings and No. 4 in the Top Drawer Soccer poll. With the UCLA men's ascension to No. 4 in the United Soccer Coaches poll, both Bruin teams are ranked in the Top 5 for the first time since the start of the 2015 season.

Three Bruins were tabbed for the United Soccer Coaches Preseason Watch Lists - goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy, defender Lilly Reale and forward Reilyn Turner. All three earned All-Pacific Region and All-Pac-12 honors a year ago. Brzykcy in 2020 was an All-American and the Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Year. Last season, she led the Pac-12 and ranked 10th nationally with a 0.55 goals against average. starting in 19 games and ranking second amongst UCLA field players in minutes played with 1,683. She contributed to nine shutouts and scored one goal and one assist. Reale earned first-team All-Pacific Region and All-Pac-12 honors and was named to Top Drawer Soccer's Freshman Best XI first team and to College Soccer News' All-Freshman first team. Turner is UCLA's top returning scorer from 2021 with 10 goals and 21 points. As a freshman, she led the Pac-12 in scoring with 11 goals and 27 points. She is a two-time all-region and all-conference selection and earned Pac-12 Freshman of the Year acclaim in 2020. Brzykcy and Reale were also named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List.

Four Bruins - Lauren Brzykcy, Ally Cook, Madelyn Desiano and Maricarmen Reyes - have extended their collegiate careers while earning a Master's degree in Transformative Coaching and Leadership at the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies. Brzykcy is in her sixth season with the Bruins, having joined the Bruins in 2017. She redshirted that season and received an extra year of eligibility due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Desiano arrived in Spring 2018 and had to sit both 2018 and 2019 due to knee injuries. Reyes' first season was 2018, and although she has played in each of the last three years, she has missed time each season due to injuries or National Team obligations. Cook is in her first year at UCLA, having transferred after three years at Oregon (2019-21).

The squad is now complete after the four Bruins playing in the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup have returned from Costa Rica. Freshmen America Frias and Bridgette Marin-Valencia helped lead Mexico to a quarterfinal showing, while the U.S. squad, which featured sophomore Lilly Reale and freshman Neeku Purcell, went 1-2 in group play and did not advance to the knockout stage.

UCLA returns three of its Top 5 leading point scorers from last season in Reilyn Turner (10g, 1a, 21pts), Maricarmen Reyes (4g, 2a, 10pts) and Madelyn Desiano (0g, 9a, 9pts). Turner led the Bruins in scoring as a freshman in 2020 with 11 goals, five assists and 27 points. Goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy, who played all but 90 minutes of the season, returns for her sixth year. Brzykcy earned All-America honors in 2020 and is a two-time All-Pacific Region and All-Pac-12 honoree. Eight players who started at least 10 games last season return - Brzykcy, Turner and Kylie Kerr (20); Lilly Reale (19), Brianne Riley (18); Madelyn Desiano and Quincy McMahon (12) and Reyes (10).

The Bruins return 23 players from last season's roster and will look to replace starters Mia Fishel, Olivia Athens and Marley Canales. To do so, UCLA brought in the nation's top-ranked freshman class, including seven Top 25-ranked players in Kathryn Kelly (No. 7), Neeku Purcell (No. 8), Ellie Walbruch (No. 16), Sofia Cook (No. 19), Peyton Marcisz (No. 20), America Frias (No. 22) and Ally Lemos (No. 24). Walbruch, Cook and Lemos all joined the team early during Winter quarter and had a chance to train and play with the Bruins in the Spring. Also new to the squad are transfers Ally Cook (Oregon) and Maya Evans (California). Cook was a three-year starting forward for the Ducks and earned second-team All-Pacific Region and third-team All-Pac-12 honors last season after leading the team with eight goals and 20 points. Evans comes to UCLA after two seasons in Berkeley. As a freshman in 2020, she started in 11 of 13 games and led the team with 975 minutes played, earning Pac-12 All-Freshman honors.