CARSON, CALIF. — No. 6 UCLA came back twice against No. 2 USC and won 3-2 in double overtime on an Olivia Athens golden goal in the 105th minute in front of 8,555 fans at StubHub Center. The victory was UCLA's ninth straight to end the regular season and its third-straight against the Trojans.
The Bruins conclude the regular season with a 14-3-1 overall record and a 9-2-0 record in the Pac-12 to finish second in the overall standings. USC finishes at 15-2-2, 8-2-1.
The Trojans had the run of play in the first half, taking six shots to UCLA's three and recording six corner kicks to UCLA's one. Savannah DeMelo's goal in the 36th minute gave USC a 1-0 lead at halftime, but the Bruins came out swinging in the second half, making adjustments and starting Hailie Mace at forward after she had started at left back.
With Mace up top, the Bruin offense got going and tied the game in the 52nd minute on a goal by Julia Hernandez. Jessie Fleming set up the play with a steal and perfect pass to Hernandez, splitting the defenders. Hernandez finished with a right-footed shot past USC goalkeeper Kaylie Collins, ending the Trojans' scoreless streak at 449 minutes.
USC had a prime opportunity to move ahead in the 64th minute when it was awarded a penalty kick after a foul in the box, but Tara McKeown's shot sailed over the crossbar to keep the score knotted at 1-1.
With a little under four minutes to play in regulation, Penelope Hocking scored the go-ahead goal for USC at the 86:26 mark. Immediately on the kickoff, Ashley Sanchez pushed the ball forward and passed off to Mace, who sent a bomb from about 30 yards out into the upper left corner for the equalizer just six seconds later. The back-to-back goals tied an NCAA record for fastest consecutive goals scored by opposing teams (previously set in 2001 by UConn and Yale and Illinois and Marquette).
UCLA ended the contest in the fifth minute of the second overtime period, with Fleming serving a ball into the box. Collins came out to try to nab it, but Athens got a head on it and sent it into the back of the net for the golden goal.
The Bruins will await their seeding in the NCAA Tournament, as the bracket will be announced on Monday, Nov. 5 at 1:30pm on NCAA.com.