UCLA women's soccer advances to Sweet Sixteen after defeating UCF in penalty kicks
LOS ANGELES - No. 1 seed UCLA advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 after a flawless penalty kick shootout against UCF. After finishing two overtime periods knotted at 1-1, the Bruins outdueled the Knights 3-0 in the shootout.
Bruin goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy set the tone by saving the first penalty shot, and Jayden Perry, Sunshine Fontes and Lilly Reale converted on their shots, while UCF hit the woodwork on their other two shots.
UCF scored the game's first goal in the 35th minute on a bending shot by Dayana Martin. But UCLA answered almost immediately. Three minutes later, Jackie Gilday, who had just entered the game following the UCF goal, headed in Ally Lemos’ corner kick to tie the game at 1-1.
"That was massive," said UCLA head coach Margueritte Aozasa about the timing of the equalizer. "I was really proud of how the team responded. We had been talking a lot in the last two weeks just about how you respond after a goal, how you negate any sort of panic and how you raise the intensity, and I thought that's exactly what we did."
We're tied at 1-1 thanks to this equalizer from Jackie Gilday in the 38th minute.
— UCLA Women's Soccer (@UCLAWSoccer) November 19, 2022
After going into halftime tied at 1-1, both teams pushed hard for the go-ahead goal but were eluded each time. Each of the teams' goalkeepers had four saves in the second period, with UCF's Caroline DeLisle finishing the game with a season-best nine saves. Brzykcy totaled six for the Bruins.
The Bruins had several good opportunities in the overtime periods but were just a bit off-target or were denied by DeLisle, forcing the game into penalties.
Brzykcy came up big to start the shootout, stopping UCF's first kick, and Perry carried that momentum into her shot, easily converting to give the Bruins the 1-0 first round advantage. After UCF's next shot hit the crossbar, Fontes nailed hers to put UCLA up 2-0. UCF hit the woodwork again in round three, with a shot off the left post, giving the Bruins the chance to clinch the shootout win after three rounds on Reale's shot. The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year delivered with the winner, sending the Bruins on to the next round.
UCLA (18-2-1) will face No. 4 seed Northwestern (16-4-2) in the Round of 16 on Sunday at 6pm at Wallis Annenberg Stadium. The Wildcats defeated Vanderbilt, 2-1, in the earlier game.