The Bruins were able to prevail in the cold Colorado climate.
Following an early goal, No. 3 UCLA women’s soccer (7-0-0, 4-0-0 Pac-12) held on to defeat Colorado (4-3-1, 1-2-1) 1-0 on Friday afternoon in Boulder to remain perfect on the season. The win extends the Bruins’ best conference start of the past three years.
“The team has started strong based on (our) preparation, dedication and discipline as far as doing all the right things,” said coach Amanda Cromwell. “(The players) deserve a lot of credit with where we are right now as a team (because of) their tactical, physical and mental preparation.”
The Bruins did not take long to get on the scoresheet as senior midfielder Delanie Sheehan scored her second goal of the season in the seventh minute by blasting a shot from atop the 18-yard box past the Buffaloes’ two-time Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week, Dani Hansen.
“Once the (ball) came back to me, I saw the goal and took the shot,” Sheehan said. “We talk about shooting early and testing the keeper early. So that’s what I was trying to do and luckily it went in.”
Cromwell said Sheehan’s overall presence in the midfield was a major factor in the match.
“I thought (Sheehan) was great,” Cromwell said. “We discussed taking her out to give her a rest, but she was so good it was hard to get her off the field. That’s a testament to her and her work rate. She was very dangerous and had a huge impact on this game.”
The Bruins spent most of the opening half in the opposition’s territory, recording eight total shots to the Buffaloes’ one. Sophomore forward Mia Fishel nearly doubled the lead when her left-footed strike in the 30th minute hit the crossbar and exited play for a goal kick.
Colorado was on the front foot after the break, logging its second and third shots of the match in the period’s initial minutes on the way to outshooting UCLA 9-8 in the second half. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy was not called to action in the first half but played a larger role in the second, registering two saves en route to her fourth clean sheet of the season.
“That’s the life of a goalkeeper,” Brzykcy said. “Those are the hardest games for a goalkeeper. You just have to stay focused, keep communicating to my backline and be ready for anything.”
In the span of four minutes, both teams had shots strike the goal frame and stay out of the net. First, with nearly 69 minutes on the clock, Buffalo forward Shyra James hit the bar trying to equalize before the ball returned to her feet, and she sailed the rebound attempt out of play. On the other end, in the 73rd minute, Fishel rattled the post for the second time after heading a cross from senior midfielder Olivia Athens.
“Even though the second half wasn’t our best, we still (had chances),” Cromwell said. “We had three or four really good chances to score goals in the second half. Even though we were not possessing it the best, we still were very dangerous.”
In the game’s dying moments, the Buffaloes had three shots in the last four minutes, forcing Brzykcy to make her final save in the 89th minute.
“I think Colorado, credit to them, came out with a good second half, but I think the team stayed strong and we didn’t really give them many opportunities,” Sheehan said. “So no matter how they wanted to press us, we grinded it out and got the win.”
UCLA will conclude its two-game road trip in Utah on Sunday with the chance to improve to 8-0 before returning to Westwood.
This content was originally published here.