UCLA Women’s soccer are Women’s College Cup Champions!
The GIST: As mentioned, the UCLA Bruins won the Women’s College Cup on Monday night, taking down the UNC Tar Heels in arguably the most dramatic women’s footy championship final to date. But, besides creating an instant sports classic, the Bruins — and their head coach (HC) Margueritte Aozasa — scored spots in collegiate history, too.
How it happened: UCLA dominated all season, posting a 22-2-1 (wins, losses, draws) record that included 14 (!!!) shutouts. They bested UNC back on September 4th but entered Monday’s 80th minute down 2–0 after Tar Heel junior Avery Patterson’s 59th and 75th minute goals. That’s when the never-say-die Bruins took control.
- Striker Lexi Wright slotted in a second-chance opportunity in the 80th minute, while forward, and the Cup’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player, Reilyn Turner headed in the equalizer off a corner kick with just 16 seconds left in regulation. The drama.
- Then, in the 107th minute, fifth-year midfielder Maricarmen Reyes found the back of the net (and instant tears) on a rebound to take the overtime lead and, three minutes later, capture UCLA’s second-ever women’s soccer natty.
The significance: The win marked the Bruins’ first ’ship since 2013 and the first time that any squad has come back from a two-goal deficit to win. Setting that (cross)bar high.
- Not only that, but Margueritte Aozasa became the first rookie HC, second Asian-American HC and fourth female HC in NCAA women’s soccer history to win it all. The Gatorade shower was well-deserved.
What’s next: Though the Bruins honored eight seniors a few weeks ago, due to injury, redshirting and the bonus COVID-19 year of NCAA eligibility, only sixth-year star goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy (pronounced BRIS-key), is ineligible to return next season, meaning the squad could remain lethal in 2023. Eight claps all around.