Women's Soccer to Face No. 3 UCLA in California Visit
This Week: Princeton at (3) UCLA, Friday, 10 p.m. ET (Audio); Princeton vs. UC Irvine (at UCLA), Sunday, 7 p.m. ET
The Princeton women's soccer team will challenge itself with a game against a nationally ranked opponent for the second time in three weekends when it heads to Los Angeles for the UCLA Soccer Classic.
Princeton will face No. 3 UCLA at 10 p.m. ET Friday, following No. 18 Pepperdine against UC Irvine, and then the Tigers will take on UC Irvine at 7 p.m. ET Sunday, preceding Pepperdine-UCLA.
It will be Princeton's fourth time facing UCLA and first time against UC Irvine. In 2001, the Tigers and Bruins met in what was Princeton's first trip to the state of California. In 2004, UCLA and Princeton met in the NCAA College Cup semifinal in Cary, N.C., and in 2005, the teams met at a Miami-hosted tournament. UCLA won all three games, the first two by a 2-0 final and the third 1-0.
Princeton (2-1-1), which started its season later than each of its opponents so far due to the Ivy League calendar, has won its last two games after taking a one-goal loss to then-No. 15 Wake Forest (now No. 14) and a tie against Colgate. Wins over Saint Joseph's and Temple followed in a weekend that saw senior Claire Pinciaro, in net for the first times this season, author two shutouts.
The Tigers have also netted two Ivy League weekly awards in as many weeks. Senior forward Jen Hoy has a team-best five goals and was the Ivy Player of the Week after the first weekend, and freshman midfielder Jessica Lee scored her first goal this past weekend as is the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Week.
Princeton has five players who will be much closer to their hometowns than usual this time of year in Arizonans sophomore Lauren Lazo and senior Kristin Watson and Northern Californians junior Erika Hoglund and senior Kristyna Smith. Senior Caitlin Blosser will be just down the road from her hometown of Pacific Palisades, Calif.
For its part, UCLA (5-0-1) has made it near the top of the NSCAA rankings by being undefeated through its first six contests and giving up only two goals. The first was at Massachusetts on Aug. 19 and the second on Sept. 7 in the team's only non-win, a tie at home against Loyola Marymount. The team has scored either one or two goals in all six of its matches so far.
Seven Bruins have contributed those goals, with a trio co-leading the team at two goals including first-team All-Pac-12 picks a year ago, senior Zakiya Bywaters and sophomore Abby Dahlkemper. Katelyn Rowland, the goalkeeper on the Pac-12's all-freshman team last year, hasn't allowed a goal in the 360 minutes she has played of the team's 560 minutes overall.
UC Irvine (3-5-0) is trying to rebound from an 0-3 start to the season that saw the team play its first four games at home before going on a September-long stretch away from campus. The team had five first-team All-Big West picks last year but graduated three of them, returning junior forward Natalia Ledezma (team-best three assists this season) and senior defender Sarah Devine. Jennifer Randazzo has played all but 31 of the team's 728 minutes in goal, accruing a 1.42 GAA.
The California swing starts Princeton on a road trip of its own as the Tigers play the next five away from Roberts Stadium after the first four were on campus. Princeton will return east with a game at Lafayette on Sept. 19 before heading to Yale next weekend and Saint Peter's the following week.