Friday night saw a battle between two of the top defenses and teams in Women’s Division 1 soccer when the UCLA Bruins took on BR-4 Stanford Cardinal. Stanford jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 53rd minute thanks to an outstanding 20-yard volley from Lo’eau LaBonta. The Cardinals had only conceded two goals the entire season up to this point, but would concede twice in the closing stages of the match, to double their total and end their unbeaten run. The match’s final fifteen minutes proved to be decisive for the Bruins, thanks to continuous offensive pressure.
UCLA’s two goals came from unlikely sources and allowed the Bruins to pull out the 2-1 victory. In the 77th minute, former U-17 Canadian National team defender Ally Courtnall earned her first goal of the season. Courtnall fired a laser-like shot into the top corner of the goal for the equalizer. Eight minutes later, the Bruins finally took the lead thanks to Annie Alvarado’s first career goal.
The sophomore midfielder featured in 20 matches last season, and has started every match this season, but her first goal came at this decisive moment. Sam Mewis dissected the defense with a through ball to the Alvarado who was streaking down the left side of the pitch and slotted the finish past Jane Campbell for the match winner.
Senior midfielder, Sam Mewis has been a crucial influence for UCLA this season, and has even featured for at the national level. This year, she earned her first call up to the United States Women’s National Team in January. In March, she made history, along with her sister Kristie, when they became only the second pair of sisters to play in the same match for the United States.
Mewis is the team’s leading scorer with nine goals on the season, and her three assists have come at crucial moments for the Bruins. On her 22nd birthday, Mewis earned the assist that was the 22nd of her career, and she now holds the ninth most assists in school history.
The win allowed UCLA to remain undefeated, while Stanford’s unbeaten streak was snapped. The Bruins are now only one of two unbeaten teams in Division 1 and have extended their unbeaten streak to 34 games, which is a school record. The Bruins enjoy one of the best home field advantages in Division 1 soccer and have not been defeated at home in their last 23 matches.
UCLA now enters the tail end of their Pac-12 schedule, which will see them tested against #20 California and finish their regular season with a clash against #14 USC. If they can remain undefeated, head coach Amanda Cromwell will have earned her second Pac-12 title in just two seasons. However, the Bruins also have their sights set on capturing another NCAA Tournament Championship.