Women’s soccer begins NCAA tournament by trouncing San Jose State

Sophomore forward Ashley Sanchez scored a two goals against San Jose State. Sanchez leads the Bruins with 10 goals and has recorded a goal or an assists in her past 10 games played. (Alice Naland/Daily Bruin)

The Bruins won by the second-largest margin of the season.

No. 2-seeded UCLA women’s soccer (15-3-1) advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament with a 5-0 win over San Jose State (9-7-6) at Wallis Annenberg Stadium.

“Our movement was really good and we found some of the combinations we were looking for,” said coach Amanda Cromwell. “At this point in the season you want to see players feeding each other and building those relationships to be dynamic, and that’s what was going on.”

Junior midfielder Jessie Fleming was first to score for the Bruins in the 13th minute, when she headed in a cross send into the box from the left side by senior defender Hallie Mace who made a run up the left side.

Five minutes later, Fleming took advantage of a two-on-one against a Spartan defender, beating her on the dribble before slipping the ball to sophomore forward Ashley Sanchez, who finished the shot to put the Bruins up 2-0.

“(Sanchez) is probably the most dangerous player on the field,” Fleming said. “Anytime I get the ball, she’s one of the first people I look for because she’s provided a lot for us this year in terms of goals and assists.”

The same duo combined again in the 32nd minute to extend the UCLA lead to 4-0.

Fleming played a long ball to the foot of Sanchez, who settled the pass before sailing a shot over the head of the San Jose State keeper.

“(Fleming) sees the game really well,” Sanchez said. “Even if I’m making a difficult run, I know she’s going to be able to find me. Working off her and letting her play make is how we succeed.”

Four minutes into the second half, Sanchez earned a penalty kick when her shot was blocked by the hand of a Spartan defender. Sophomore midfielder Marley Canales nailed the shot into the left side netting to bring the score to 5-0.

Sanchez leads the team with 10 goals and has either scored or assisted in each of the last 10 games – all of which have been wins for the Bruins.

UCLA finished the match with 24 shots, 14 of which were on goal. San Jose State logged two.

“I think we’re doing a better job of selective shooting,” Sanchez said. “We’ve been having more dangerous shots and finishing a lot more in the last couple games.”

The win over the Spartans was Cromwell’s 100th win with the program since her first season in 2013. The coach earned an NCAA championship her first year in Westwood.

“Every team has been special for different reasons,” Cromwell said. “This one tonight showed you why – they have a lot of qualities that make them unique and fun to coach.”

The Bruins will host the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the second round of the tournament Nov. 16 at Wallis Annenberg Stadium.

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