UCLA Shuts Out Women's Soccer in NCAA Tournament

In the 61st minute of the game, sophomore forward Midge Purce sped downfield past a handful of UCLA defenders and passed the ball off to sophomore forward Joan Fleischman in the box. Fleischman chipped the incoming pass for the Harvard women’s soccer team’s first and only shot on goal in the game.

But Bruins’ senior goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland handled the try easily and quickly sent a long pass downfield to set up a counterattack. Rowland’s pass found junior forward Taylor Smith, who broke away from the Crimson defense down the right side of the field. Angling in from the corner, Smith hit a chip shot that found the side netting of the far post to give UCLA a 5-0 lead.

This 90-second exchange reflected the 90 minutes of play, with the defending national champion Bruins (20-0-2, 10-0-1 Pac-12) dominating Harvard (11-5-2, 5-1-1 Ivy) in the second round of the NCAA tournament, 7-0, on Friday night at Drake Stadium.

“UCLA had everything,” Harvard coach Ray Leone said. “They had the speed, they had the tactics, they had the [technique]. There were no weaknesses.”

The Bruins wasted no time getting on the board.


Just over a minute into the game, the Crimson committed a foul in the box to grant UCLA a penalty kick. Bruins senior midfielder Sarah Killion fired a low strike to the right post to put UCLA up 1-0.

In the second half, Harvard sophomore goalkeeper Lizzie Durack faced a second penalty shot. Although she guessed incorrectly with a dive to the left in the first half, she stuck with the move in the second. This time it paid off, as she dug out a save against the Bruins top goal-scorer, senior midfielder Sam Mewis.

This highlighted Durack's collection of seven saves in her 57 and a half minutes between the posts.

“I was particularly proud of [Durack],” Leone said. “It’s very difficult when you are the last line of defense to keep your head up and get the ball out of the net and be ready to go again.  She knew it was going to be an onslaught against her, and she was obviously ready and excited for the challenge.”

UCLA took 24 shots in the game, with 14 of those coming in the first half.

Five minutes after Killion netted the penalty, she tallied a second goal on a header off a corner.  

The Bruins, who have conceded only four goals all season and none in the nine games since Oct. 9, ruined Harvard’s game plan with its early scores.

“We knew that we weren’t going to try to go at them and score right away since their defense is obviously really strong,” co-captain Marie Margolius said. “So our game plan was to stop them from scoring early. When they scored, it kind of killed our morale, just because it killed our game plan and definitely our confidence a little bit too.”

Durack’s performance in goal was not enough to overcome UCLA’s relentless attack.

In the 26th minute, Bruins senior forward Rosie White fired off a shot from the top of the 18-yard box, but Durack managed to make the save. Within 15 seconds, UCLA made a quick throw-in and cross that senior forward Kylie McCarthy directed to the left post beyond Durack’s reach to add to the Bruins lead.