No. 1 UCLA to Face No. 9 Stanford in Friday Showdown

Forward Sunshine Fontes celebrates with teammates after scoring the sport winner towards Arizona (Photo: Steve Cheng, Bruin Report Online, 247Sports)

In UCLA’s earlier sport towards Arizona on Sunday, the Bruins wanted late-game heroics from ahead Sunshine Fontes to keep away from a large disenchanted. The Bruins regarded torpid and uninspired during the sport, however Sunshine Fontes broke a 0-0 tie in the 83rd minute with a second of magic. Freshman Ally Lemos stole the ball at midfield and handed to Fontes who raced previous Arizona defenders; Fontes driven the ball forward to Ally Cook who laid it again to Fontes for a one-timer from 25 yards out that snuck within the left objective submit.

“It was like slo-mo, like the second the ball left my foot, it felt like a whole minute before the ball went into the back of the net,” stated Fontes after the sport. “We hadn’t really tested this keeper today, so I was like, ‘let me just test her, get a shot on frame,’ and it went in, so, awesome.”

It used to be Fontes’ team-leading 9th objective of the season. That flash of brilliance led to immediate jubilation in an in a different way dreary efficiency.

“Relieved would be a great word for it,” exclaimed Fontes. “That game didn’t go the way we expected or had hoped…but to play bad, we still got three points, so I think we take this, we learn from it, and we move forward onto Stanford.”

“It’s important to be able to win ugly, and today was an ugly win,” stated UCLA head trainer Margueritte Aozasa after the sport. “Thankfully Sunshine was shining down on us today and found a way to score and get the result; great teams find a way and today an example of that.”

The Bruins can have been having a look head to their sport towards Stanford, however their deficient efficiency towards Arizona used to be a get up name and a teachable second. The upset-minded Wildcats, recent off a 1-0 shocker towards then-No. 8 USC simply 3 days previous, “played like a team with nothing to lose,” in accordance to Coach Aozasa. “I don’t think we respected the game enough. We want to make sure that we are always bringing our best performance, always bringing our best effort, and today, we didn’t do that.”

“There’s so many lessons to be learned through the season,” stated Coach Aozasa. “Some, you kind of learn by winning; others, you learn by conceding. And so today hopefully we can take those lessons that you would typically learn in a loss; we can take them with three points. I think that this performance is going to help us in the long run.”

UCLA might be going through a mix of fatigue and midseason doldrums as they prep for the general leg in their common season time table sooner than post-season play starts. Last season, UCLA used to be the No. 2 seed in the NCAA playoffs however were given disenchanted in the primary around in a 0-1 loss to UC Irvine. That first-round loss continues to be recent on their minds. 

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Sunshine Fontes moves the sport successful objective towards Arizona (Photo: Steve Cheng, Bruin Report Online, 247Sports)

Sunshine Fontes leads the crew with 9 objectives, however past the ability she has proven on her pitch, the fourth-year senior has been a tenacious warrior and chief for her crew.

“Sunshine is such a bright light for us both on and off the field,” stated Coach Aozasa. “Super easygoing, but very astute in the game, very competitive. And you could see today, the second time she came in, in the second half, she came in with a new determination. At halftime we said to the group, ‘regardless of how we play the second half, we’re not gonna lose.’ And I could tell that when she went back on the field, second half, that was her attitude. She was like, ‘we’re gonna find a way to win this.’ And I think special players have special moments, and today was that.”

What’s improbable for UCLA this season is their intensity and the way in which Coach Aozasa has accomplished her substitution patterns. Remarkably, most effective two avid gamers have began each and every sport for UCLA—graduate goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy and freshman midfielder Ally Lemos. 14 other Bruins have scored objectives this season, with 7 avid gamers scoring 3 or extra objectives. 

UCLA additionally has 12 inexperienced persons in this yr’s crew, together with 10 rookies who make up the country’s peak recruiting elegance from 2021. The mixture of top-flight skill and enjoy is a key for this crew’s good fortune. Also, new head trainer Margueritte Aozasa calls for the similar effort off the ball as at the ball and needs the opponent to really feel force always during a sport. 

“We’ve defended like we never have,” stated 5th yr senior Maricarmen Reyes after their Cal sport just lately.

UCLA head trainer Margueritte Aozasa (Photo: Steve Cheng, Bruin Report Online, 247Sports)
 

I requested Coach Aozasa after the sport about how she is adjusting to being head trainer at UCLA.

“Oh, I’m loving it,” Coach Aozasa exclaimed. “I mean, who wouldn’t love this start? Can’t complain. I feel very, very fortunate, very privileged to be a part of this. The players have been fantastic. UCLA has been fantastic. Everything I really could have asked for in the transition, so I’m loving it. But obviously, there are other stresses and today (versus Arizona) was an example of that. I laughingly say, ‘I think I aged 10 years in 90 minutes,’ but that’s okay. Overall, it’s been an incredible experience so far.”

Coach Aozasa stresses work-life stability for herself, her coaches and her avid gamers. It’s one in all her distinctive characteristics as a trainer, with one in all her number one objectives to assist avid gamers revel in taking part in football and revel in their enjoy as scholar athletes. I requested her concerning the problem of keeping up stability with the calls for of being a first-year head trainer at a high-profile task like UCLA.

“It’s definitely hard. I have be very intentional about balance,” stated Coach Aozasa. “I think taking over a program is something that can be all consuming. And so I have to be very thoughtful about how I spend my time, how I spend my time away from the field, how I spend my time with my family when I can kind of recharge and just make sure that I’m bringing my best, my best self and my best effort to coaching every day. And that’s something we talk about through our players too, is just optimizing your time off the field, making sure that you’re ready to come back every single day, like recharged, rejuvenated and excited to be here.”

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