Aztec women’s soccer keeps it close against No.3 ranked UCLA, fall 2-0

Junior+defender+Kiera+Utush+attempting+to+kick+the+ball+towards+her+teammates+early+in+the+first+half+against+UCLA.

Adam Correa

Junior defender Kiera Utush attempting to kick the ball towards her teammates early in the first half against UCLA.

by Adam Correa, Staff Writer

The San Diego State Aztecs (2-6-0) lost 2-0 to the University of California Los Angeles Bruins (8-0-0) Sunday night. 

The first goal was scored by UCLA junior midfielder Mia Fishel in the ninth minute assisted by teammate Brianne Riley. The second goal was scored by sophomore forward Reilyn Turner in the 71st minute. 

The Aztecs had no shots on goal in the first half in comparison to the Bruins 11 shots and finished the game with three shots compared to the Bruins 17. 

Freshman midfielder Denise Castro — who is leading the team with five goals — wasn’t on the field Sunday against UCLA because she is playing internationally. Head coach Mike Friesen said it was a huge loss not having Castro in the lineup.

“There’s a reason [Castro’s] playing in the Netherlands right now for Mexico, she’s a world-class player,” Friesen said. “I thought Rachelle [Elve] played fantastically tonight. This was probably her best performance of her career, but at the same time, to not have another player like Denise on the field that can find a goal, find a little bit more rhythm, it certainly hurt.”

Friesen said the players were timid tonight and it was the reason for minimal shot opportunities.

“I think there was a few [chances] like the one that sticks out in my mind is we draw their goalkeeper out, it comes right back to our player,” Friesen said. “It is a wide-open ball, she takes a touch and tries to go wide and she’s not thinking to score goals.”  

Sophomore goalkeeper Alexa Madueno made six huge saves to keep the Aztecs in the game but wished the outcome was different. 

“I knew it was gonna be a difficult challenge going against them especially with the record and what they’re ranked, but I think my team was able to keep up with them and just go against them,” Madueno said.

The Aztec defense against the Bruins was crucial in keeping the game to a two-goal spread. Junior defender Kiera Utush talked about some of the positives and negatives of her performance.

“I think some positives would definitely be moving along the backline and playing to the keeper, Alexa, she did really good handling the ball,” Utush said. “I think the negatives tonight would just be the two goals that were given to UCLA and I think that we can do better on closing that opportunity.”

The Aztecs’ next game will be against their first Mountain West opponent in Colorado State on Friday, Sept. 24. Madueno believes they are ready to bring the team’s chemistry to the Mountain West. 

“I think that we’re gonna be able to bring that [chemistry] to the Mountain West and shut down a bunch of people and some of the top shooters and opponents Boise State, Fresno,” Madueno said.

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