CARY, N.C. — In a game that was defined by each team's ability to finish, UCLA coasted to a 3-0 win over Alabama in the second women's soccer semifinal at WakeMed Soccer Park on Friday.
The Crimson Tide came into the College Cup boasting the country's highest-scoring offense but were shut out for just the third time all season, as their opportunities in front of goal were either wasted or ran into UCLA's goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy. Alabama finished with seven shots on target and a handful of others that just whistled past either post. By contrast, UCLA's Reilyn Turner did not squander her opportunity to score in the first half. The Bruins' star forward notched her 10th goal of the year by popping up just a few yards from goal to meet a Quincy McMahon low cross.
Give @QuincyMcMahon13 her flowers for getting @reilynturner that ball in front of goal to give UCLA the 1-0 lead in the NCAA semifinal!— UCLA Women's Soccer (@UCLAWSoccer) December 3, 2022
📲: https://t.co/tVgOKnyubp#GoBruins pic.twitter.com/yE0ClOTVjq
Once the second half began and Alabama committed more to the attack, the Bruins took advantage of the space left behind through the pace of their forward line. There were several attacks in the first 20 minutes after halftime in which UCLA had acres of space to run into and create goal-scoring chances. That's exactly how each of the second-half goals came about, two gut-punching goals in a span of 66 seconds. Both goals were unassisted and a showcase of UCLA's quality.
Though they were never expected to reach this stage in the first place, this 2022 Alabama team will be remembered for the program-defining run it made. The Tide entered 2022 with one NCAA tournament win in its history and finished the year with 23 total wins and a College Cup berth.
With the win, the Bruins set up a rematch with North Carolina in the national championship game on Monday. When they last met in September, UCLA left Chapel Hill with a 2-1 win.