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Alberto Camargo | NCAA.com | September 2, 2022

No. 3 UCLA grinds out win at No. 2 Duke and more from Thursday's action

Women's College Cup Final: Florida State and BYU full highlights

If you want to talk about a postseason preview and a high-level battle, look no further than No. 3 UCLA’s gritty 2-1 win over No. 2 Duke in Durham on Thursday. In the first of a two-game cross-country road trip that includes No. 1 North Carolina on Sunday, the Bruins’ defense withstood the Blue Devils’ late comeback effort to nab a statement win.

HUGE WEEK: No. 1 UNC, No. 2 Duke and No. 3 UCLA all play each other in eight days

The Bruins began on top, creating three legitimate scoring chances before Duke could really settle into the game. Reilyn Turner was at the center of everything, running in behind Duke’s high backline on several occasions, which eventually resulted in a 12th-minute penalty kick cashed in by Jayden Perry.

With a lead on the road, the Bruins were content to lean on their defense, which hadn’t yet allowed a goal this season. That was until Michelle Cooper got involved. The 2021 National Freshman of the Year popped up on the end of patient buildup to finish a cutback by Delaney Graham, her third goal of the young season.

The second half was more of the same: Duke in possession and the Bruins in a low defensive block. UCLA counterattacks were rare, but so is a talent like Turner. Some neat combination play near the corner flag resulted in Turner having a few yards of space in the area. Two touches later, she beat Duke keeper Ruthie Jones at her near post. You can watch the play below.

A moment of brilliance at one end was followed by — well, seven at the other by Bruins keeper Lauren Brzycky. She showed why she was named to the preseason Hermann Trophy watchlist with a career-high nine saves in the game, including seven in the second half. Bryzycky's acrobatics and quick reactions preserved the lead and the Bruins walked away with a well-deserved win.

While UCLA-Duke was the main event of the night, here are some other notable results from around DI women’s soccer on Thursday:

FULL SCOREBOARD: Click or tap here to see all the results around DI women's soccer

No. 4 South Carolina comes from behind twice in 2-2 draw with Clemson

The latest edition of the Palmetto Series took place between South Carolina and a Clemson side that dominated like they were the top 5 team in this game. The Tigers took no time settling into the hostile environment at Stone Stadium, controlling possession and pressing ferociously from the first minute. 

In fact, it was that high press that directly resulted in the opening goal of the match. Freshman Maria Manousos forced a turnover inside South Carolina’s penalty area and finished just at the edge of the six-yard box. The Gamecocks knotted things up at one with a tidy chipped finish in the 42nd minute.

The second half was more back-and-forth with South Carolina creating more chances against a stingy Clemson defense. The Tigers grabbed the lead again with 25 minutes to play and looked poised for a rivalry win, and then Cat Berry happened.

The Gamecocks’ leading scorer a year ago struggled to get involved for 80 minutes, but all she needed was one chance. She controlled an early cross from the right wing around the defender and tucked away her first goal of 2022 with a right-footed poke to avoid the loss. 

Southern Cal blanks No. 6 TCU 3-0 

USC women's soccer

Out in sunny Los Angeles, the Trojans dominated the Horned Frogs, who seemed as if they were overlooking USC in anticipation of a huge matchup with Duke on Sunday. The Trojans flew around the pitch compared to their opponents and took advantage just three minutes into the game. Simone Jackson controlled a loose ball right at the top of the 18 and beat TCU keeper Lauren Kellet to her left.

Soon after it became the Croix Bethune show. The reigning First Team All-American and Pac-12 Midfielder of the Year made her mark on this game with a free kick that just clipped off the wall to curl around Kellet’s right hand for Bethune’s first goal of the season.

Bethune, rated as the top player in women’s soccer by TopDrawerSoccer added a second late in the game to all but seal the deal and secure an impressive win for the team resume. 

Alabama upsets No. 6 BYU in Provo

In a rematch of last season's NCAA tournament second round, the Crimson Tide scored three unanswered goals in a little over five minutes in the first half, including two in the 23rd minute of play. The Cougars pulled one back with under 10 minutes remaining, making for an exciting final push. The Tide were resilient in defense, though, highlighted by keeper McKinley Crone's seven saves. It's Alabama's second straight top-25 win, after beating then-No. 18 Clemson 3-0 on Aug. 28.

No. 12 Stanford earns win over No. 8 Penn State with Montoya brace

The Nittany Lions traveled to the West Coast riding high off three straight wins, including a 2-0 win over then-No. 21 West Virginia, but it was the Cardinal that came out with its first ranked win of the year in a 2-0 victory. With goals on either side of halftime, Allie Montoya became the fourth Stanford player to score twice in a game, continuing the team's streak of two-goal scorers in each game in the young season.

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