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UCLA Begins Pac-12 Title Defense Friday Night vs. Cal

Sep 21, 2022
Sofia Cook

No. 1 UCLA (8-0-0) vs. California (5-1-3)
Friday, Sept. 23, 2022 – 8pm
Los Angeles, Calif. (Wallis Annenberg Stadium)

Television: Pac-12 Networks
Talent: Jim Watson
Live Stats:

Price at gate: $15 at gate/$10 youth (3-16); UCLA students free with BruinCard
Parking: purchase in advance on Park Mobile app

After cruising through the non-conference schedule with a perfect 8-0 record, No. 1 UCLA opens Pac-12 Conference play on Friday, Sept. 23 at 8pm against California (5-1-3) at Wallis Annenberg Stadium. The Bruins are the back-to-back Pac-12 champions and have posted a 17-1-4 conference record over the last two seasons.

Prior to Friday night's game, UCLA will team up with Angel City FC to celebrate 50 years of women in sports. Members of Los Angeles' NWSL squad will be on hand to speak on the impact of Title IX and the importance of women's sports.

For the third consecutive week, UCLA remained No. 1 in the United Soccer Coaches poll and the Top Drawer Soccer poll. The Bruins are also ranked No. 1 in the first NCAA RPI. The last time UCLA held the top spot in the United Soccer Coaches poll prior to this season was 2017, when the Bruins were No. 1 for five weeks from Sept. 5-Oct. 3. UCLA's Sept. 4 win over No. 1 North Carolina was its second ever over a top-ranked team and second in a row after beating No. 1 Florida State on Aug. 29, 2019.

Since dropping its season opener to UC Irvine, 1-0 on the road, Cal has gone unbeaten, with five wins, including three consecutive, along with three ties. The Golden Bears have shut out their last four opponents. Goalkeeper Angelina Anderson holds a 0.48 goals against average with three solo and two shared shutouts. Keely Roy leads the team offensively with three goals and seven points.

UCLA holds a 20-6-2 advantage in the all-time series and has won the last two matchups and four of the last five. Lauren Brzykcy and the Bruins shut out the Bears in last season's meeting, 1-0 in double overtime at home, on a Mia Fishel golden goal that was assisted by Jayden Perry and Brianne Riley. Cal's last win came in Westwood in 2019 when Kailee Gifford scored the game-winning goal in the 88th minute of a 2-1 victory.

For the third time this month, No. 1 UCLA beat a Top 10 opponent on the road, improving to 8-0 by handing No. 9 Pepperdine its first loss of the year, 4-0, on Sept. 18. There was plenty of offense to go around for the Bruins, as four different players - Reilyn Turner, Lexi Wright, Sunsine Fontes and MacKenzee Vance - scored goals. The Bruin defense, led by goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy, held strong for their fifth shutout of the year.

With MacKenzee Vance's goal at Pepperdine, UCLA has had 11 different players score goals this season. A total of 30 players have seen game action, with 25 playing three games or more. Fifteen players have three or more starts.

After posting a pair of shutouts over San Diego State and Pepperdine, senior Lauren Brzykcy was honored as the Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week for the third time in the last four weeks. Brzykcy recorded four saves on eight Pepperdine attempts and made two saves on three San Diego State shots. With her eighth career Goalkeeper of the Week win, Brzykcy has tied the school and conference record held by her former teammate Teagan Micah..

Junior forward Reilyn Turner has stepped up on the biggest stages this season, with all three of her goals coming against Top 10 teams on the road, and all three being game-winners. Her first goal came at No. 2 Duke on Sept. 1, a second-half goal to break a 1-1 tie. Three days later, she scored the game-winner in the 84th minute to beat No. 1 North Carolina. Turner made it 3-for-3 when she scored the opening goal in the Bruins' 4-0 win at No. 9 Pepperdine. Turner leads the Pac-12 and ranks seventh nationally with three game-winning goals.

Midfielder MacKenzee Vance has finally seen her first collegiate action after tearing her ACL in January of 2020 and missing the last two seasons. In just her third game, Vance scored her first goal at Pepperdine, collecting a long pass from Madelyn Desiano, swerving past the charging goalkeeper and shooting into the empty net. Vance, who hails from Bluffton, S.C., was a member of U.S. Youth National Teams from 2015-20.

Senior forward Kali Trevithick has spent the better part of her four years on the injured list, having undergone multiple knee surgeries. She began her freshman season on a tear, scoring two goals and two assists in the team's first two exhibition games and started the first four regular season contests before a knee injury knocked her out until November. She played the final six games of the year and totaled two goals and one assist. She missed all but the final two games of the 2020-21 campaign and all of the 2021 season but finally got back on the pitch on Sept. 11 for her first game since May 5, 2021. Trevithick made the most of her return, scoring less than two minutes after entering the game against CSUN. Two minutes after that, she scored her second goal in the Bruins' 5-1 victory. Trevithick has played in just 13 games and 482 minutes at UCLA but has scored four goals and two assists.

Graduate goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy has been a nearly inpenetrable brick wall this season. She leads the Pac-12 in GAA (0.42), wins (8), shutouts (4 solo, 1 shared) and save percentage (.889). Brzykcy tied her career-high in single-game saves with nine at No. 2 Duke, and she has moved into UCLA's Top 5 in career saves with 186 and counting. With 24 career shutouts, Brzykcy is two away from the Top 5 in that category, and her 45 career wins put her in a tie for fifth all-time at UCLA.

Senior midfielder Sunshine Fontes has been a big bright spot for UCLA, leading the team with six goals, 13 points and two game-winning goals. 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 after her four-goal weekend.

Sophomore Lexi Wright has been showing her stuff this season, ranking second on the team in scoring with eight points on three goals and three assists. She recorded her first collegiate goal on Aug. 25 against CSUN and also added an assist. She assisted on the game-winner at No. 2 Duke and scored the second-half equalizer to jump-start UCLA's comeback win at No. 1 North Carolina.

UCLA's Mexican National Team players Maricarmen Reyes, Bridgette Marin-Valencia and America Frias all saw action for the first time together as Bruins on Sept. 11 vs. Cal State Fullerton. Marin-Valencia and Frias made their UCLA debuts after missing the early part of the season while competing at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup. Reyes, who plays on the full national team, scored the game-winner, a sharp-angled screamer for her second goal of the season. The U-20 players also saw productive minutes, with Marin-Valencia recording an assist and two shots in 29 minutes of play, and Frias playing 18 minutes. Reyes and Marin-Valencia teamed up to assist on the Bruins' second goal at Pepperdine on Sept. 18.

Leading the Bruins in assists this season are freshman Ally Lemos and sophomores Lexi Wright and Quincy McMahon with three apiece. At least one of the three have recorded an assist in five of the Bruins' eight games. McMahon ranked second on the team in assists a year ago with seven.

With a deep and talented squad at her disposal, head coach Margueritte Aozasa has been able to seamlessly shuffle her starting lineup from game to game. Two players, however, have earned starts in all eight games - graduate goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy and freshman midfielder Ally Lemos. Five players have seven starts - defenders Quincy McMahon, Jayden Perry, Lilly Reale and Madelyn Desiano and forward Reilyn Turner.

UCLA posted a pair of 2-1 road victories over the nation's top two teams to start the month, downing No. 2 Duke on Sept. 1 and No. 1 North Carolina on Sept. 4. Reilyn Turner scored the game-winning goal in both games, breaking the deadlock in the 62nd minute against the Blue Devils and then completing the comeback against North Carolina with an 84th minute goal. Lexi Wright assisted on Turner's game-winner at Duke and scored the tying goal at North Carolina. Defender Jayden Perry scored the Bruins' other goal, converting a penalty kick at Duke for the game's first score. Goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy tied her career-high in saves with nine at Duke and then made four clutch saves in the win at North Carolina.

The Bruins have undergone a transformation since last season, with new head coach Margueritte Aozasa (Santa Clara '12) taking the reigns as head coach of the Bruins on Dec. 29, 2021. Aozasa was an assistant coach at Stanford for seven years, helping guide the Cardinal to NCAA Championships in 2017 and 2019 and Pac-12 titles from 2015-19. Joining the coaching staff were assistant coaches Gof Boyoko, Molly Poletto and Chelsea Tudela.

UCLA also welcomed 12 new players to the squad in 2022, including 10 freshmen who make up the nation's top-ranked freshman class. Seven of those players were ranked in Top Drawer Soccer's Top 25 - 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.

Follow UCLA Women's Soccer at @UCLAWSoccer on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok and /UCLAWSoccer on Facebook. The Bruins lead all collegiate soccer teams, men or women, in Instagram followers with 93.8k.