Corvallis, Ore. – The Oregon State women’s soccer team heads to southern California to take on No. 2/2 UCLA and USC in their final two away games of the season.
Oregon State’s first match-up is against No. 2/2 UCLA (14-1-2, 6-0-2) on Friday at Drake Stadium. The Bruins average around 1,500 in attendance, meaning that the Beavers will need to be focused and ready to tune out the crowd. These two teams last went head to head in 2012, UCLA claiming a 4-1 victory on the road.
UCLA is coming off a 1-1 tie at Utah and a 1-0 win at Colorado. Oregon State split last weekend, notching a 1-0 victory over No.12/21 California, and falling 4-1 to No. 8/13 Stanford. The Beavers have sat down and re-focused, shifting their sights to their next opponents.
“I think the girls really want, particularly this weekend, to have two strong showings,” said Head Coach Linus Rhode. “We are taking it game by game and obviously we want to finish out the season strong… we’re doing everything we can to be ready to go.”
In order to win the match-up against UCLA, a very skilled team with a lot of individual talent and speed, Oregon State will need to maintain possession under pressure.
“One of the things we have worked on is keeping possession in small, tight areas under pressure because we are going to have to be able to keep the ball in situations like that,” Rhode said. “Set plays are also going to play an important part, both offensively and defensively.”
On Sunday, the Beavers will take on USC (6-9-2, 1-6-1). In 2012, the Beavers and the Trojans battled for 110 minutes, the game resulting in a 1-1 tie. Oregon State has been hard at work this week, preparing for the two matches ahead.
“We have been working to make sure that our defense stays with our marks on the first and second ball,” said redshirt junior Marissa Kovac. “We played small possession games so we could get used to playing under high pressure and being able to deal with possessing the ball in a small area.”
With just three conference games left in the season, the Beavers have re-grouped and set their sights on UCLA, first and foremost.
“We are all really pumped to play UCLA because we would love to pull an upset or at least put up a fight; they’re probably expecting an easy game against us,” Kovac said. “We will hopefully be able to play our kind of game and maybe pull an upset.”
Oregon State takes on No. 2/2 UCLA, Friday at 7 p.m. PT. Follow live stats at www.osubeavers.com and listen to live audio at http://www.usctrojans.com. Sunday, Oregon State will face USC at 11 a.m. PT. The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.