UCLA Women’s Soccer Punches College Cup ticket with overtime win over Virginia

LOS ANGELES – No. 1-seeded UCLA secured their spot at next week’s NCAA College Cup in Cary, NC after beating No. 3-seeded Virginia 2-1 in overtime in the NCAA Quarterfinals. Freshman Sofia Cook scored the winning goal in first overtime to cement UCLA’s 12th College Cup appearance and third-place finish in the past six years.

UCLA (20-2-1) struck first and took an early lead after sophomore Sunshine Fontes and Lexi Wright pulled off a perfect give-and-go in the 15th minute, culminating in Fontes’ team-leading 11th goal of the season. Ten minutes later, Wright almost scored a goal of her own by putting a shot into the back net, but the goal was disallowed due to an offside call.

The Bruins went into half-time with a 1-0 lead thanks to two saves from goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy, but the Cavaliers came back to equalize in the 75th minute. Lia Godfrey took her fourth corner of the night, and Haley Hopkins headed in to equalize.

After the score was knotted by regulation, each team pushed for the go-ahead goal. Both Hopkins for Virginia and Cook for UCLA had blocked shots in first overtime, but it was Cook who came through in the 96th minute. Senior Jackie Gilday started the game by nutmacing a Virginia defender before crossing into the box. The ball was headed by a Cavalier player but bounced straight at Cook, who fired it once from an angle into the left corner for her seventh goal of the season. The Bruin defense held out for the final 12 minutes to secure the win.

The Cavaliers (16-4-3) beat the Bruins by a margin of 15-9 and had eight corners to one of UCLA. Brzycky earned the win with five saves. White had two for Virginia.

“One of the things that we asked of our team was to be super disciplined defensively, and I thought we did that,” said Margueritte Aozasa, UCLA’s freshman head coach. “We only conceded a goal very late in the game. Although they had a lot of possession, we limited dangerous chances. In terms of offense I’m very proud of the group because we asked them to be adaptable and we played three or four different forms in that game based on tactics and everyone delivered and everyone executed. I couldn’t be prouder of the team.

UCLA meets first-time College Cup qualifiers Alabama in Friday’s semifinals. The Crimson Tide beat Duke 3-2 in the Quarterfinals. Florida State meets North Carolina in the other semifinal.