Women's soccer: Top-ranked UCLA stays undefeated with win over No. 8 Virginia
Charlottesville, Va. — Top-ranked UCLA finished a challenging and lengthy road trip with a 2-1 victory over eight-ranked Virginia. Senior defender MacKenzie Cerda scored the game-winning goal in the 57th minute as the Bruins improved to 7-0 with the victory over head coach Amanda Cromwell's alma mater.
Freshman forward Ashley Sanchez had a hand in each goal, scoring her first career goal in the 11th minute and assisting Cerda with a cheeky backheel on the game-winner.
UCLA weathered a heavy Virginia attack in the opening minutes of the contest and grabbed the 1-0 lead at the 10:22 mark. After a give-and-go between Delanie Sheehan and Hailie Mace, Sheehan lobbed a perfectly-placed pass to Sanchez in the box, and Sanchez knocked it in to the bottom right corner from 12 yards out.
The Bruins nearly scored again in the 31st minute when Mace broke free to nab a through ball from Sanchez on a counterattack. Virginia goalkeeper Laurel Ivory somehow managed to get a foot on the ball to make the save, and three more balls into the box were cleared out by the Cavalier defense.
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Virginia tied the game at 37:39 on a free kick to the upper left corner by Taylor Ziemer. The Cavaliers were awarded the free kick after a foul was called on the Bruins just outside the box off the ball.
Cerda's game-winner at 56:11 was set up by Jessie Fleming, who ran the ball upfield before laying off to Sanchez. The freshman immediately backheeled a through ball up the middle to Cerda, who beat the defender and shot far post from six yards out, scoring her third goal of the season and second in three games.
The Cavaliers pushed for the equalizer until the very end and nearly got it in the final minute when Courtney Peterson fired a shot on goal with 43 seconds to play. Bruin goalkeeper Teagan Micah was there to make the clutch stop, and Mace was there to clear the ball out of danger.
Micah finished with four saves on 13 Virginia shots. Ivory made one save on five Bruin shots.
UCLA will return home for its next contest, taking on Pepperdine on Friday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. on Marshall Field at Drake Stadium. The match will be televised live on Pac-12 Network.