The Weber State University women’s soccer team faced a daunting task on the evening of Sept. 3 as they took on the UCLA Bruins. The Bruins came into the match ranked No. 1 in the country.
The Wildcats were able to keep it close throughout, but UCLA ultimately ended up emerging victorious by a score of 2–0.
There was a record-breaking crowd on hand to witness the match against the top team in the country. The 1,682 fans in attendance at the Wildcat Soccer Field represented the biggest crowd for a WSU soccer match.
“We tried to treat it the same as any game. It was a home game in front of a good crowd,” said Wildcats head coach Tim Crompton.
There was not much in terms of scoring in the early stages of the game, as both defenses proved to be stingy. UCLA dominated the space of play against WSU, as the Bruins attempted nine shots compared to one from Weber State.
Wildcats goalkeeper Sydnie Brough was able to keep UCLA off the board throughout the entire 45 minute first half. Brough also collected the only goalkeeper save of the game.
When the second half began, the Wildcats made a change in goal, taking out Brough and bringing in redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Nikki Pittman. The Bruins got on the scoreboard four minutes into the second half when senior Gabrielle Matulich scored a goal from 20 yards away.
UCLA continued to control the tempo and possession throughout the second half, as they were able to attempt six more shots in Wildcat territory. Junior Julia Hernandez scored their second goal with 10 seconds left in the game, locking up the Wildcat loss.
Once the final whistle was blown, UCLA had attempted 15 shots, but only three on goal. Weber State had only two shots taken — one by junior midfielder Celeste Anderson and the other by junior forward Madison Garlock.
“I was happy to be attacking against a team like that,” Garlock said. “We have all the confidence in the world. If you can’t hang with the number one team, who can you hang with?”
The Wildcats committed seven fouls in the game, compared to four by the Bruins. By the end of the 90th minute, there were five Wildcats remaining on the pitch who started the game, compared to only two for UCLA.
UCLA improved to 6–0 with the victory and will take on the University of Virginia in their next match.
Weber State’s record dropped to 1–4 after the defeat. The Wildcats travel to the University of North Texas for their next game at 6 p.m. MST on Sept. 8.
For Coach Crompton and the rest of the Weber State squad, the matchup against UCLA represented their toughest competition of the season.
Crompton said, “This was a sign of a good team. I think it’s fair to say we won’t play anyone better.”