The Mustangs fell to UCLA 2-1 after holding a tie with the Bruins until the 89th minute. Credit: Kayla Stuart

Cal Poly women’s soccer was tied 1-1 with the No.1 team in the nation UCLA into the final minutes of their match on Thursday, Aug. 24. 

However, a late penalty kick with 1:22 remaining in the game put the Bruins ahead 2-1, and the defending national champions held on for the win inside Wallis Annenberg Stadium.  

The Mustangs (0-1-1) are still searching for their first win of the season while the Bruins (2-0) won their first two games. 

The Bruins scored their first goal in the 28th minute of the game off of a shot from Ally Cook. For the Mustangs in the first half, they struggled to find their footing on the offensive side of the ball. 

The 2022 Big West regular season champions were held to 0 shots in the first half compared to the Bruins’ 11 attempts.

The Mustangs were forced to play a player down after Bailey Bracha exited the game with her second yellow card.

In the second half, the Mustangs applied pressure on the Bruins’ backline and amped up the aggression. 

Coming out of halftime, freshman Bailey Bracha raced up the right side of the field before delivering a cross into the box for sophomore Jessie Halladay, whose shot went just over the top of the crossbar. 

Halladay also earned a free kick and got the first shot on goal for the team. 

The defensive pressure paid off for the Mustangs as senior Kate Reedy intercepted a ball and scored a goal in the 52nd minute after a Bruins’ defender misplayed a pass back to the goalie.

However, soon after Reedy’s goal, Bracha received her second yellow card of the match and forced the team to play with 10 players against the Bruins’ 11.

Even with a player down, the Mustangs’ defense held on for the next 35 minutes. 2022 Big West Goalkeeper of the Year Mackenzie Samuel made eight saves on the day as the Bruins poured in 23 shots.

In the 89th minute freshmen Siena Urzua fouled a Bruins’ attacker on a crucial play. The Bruins were awarded a penalty and converted to take a 2-1 lead.

The Mustangs look to bounce back as they travel to Sullivan Field to face LMU Sunday, Aug. 27 at 12 p.m.