BYU topples No. 1 UCLA 3-1

No. 7 BYU women’s soccer upended No. 1 UCLA 3-1 on Thursday night before a raucous crowd at South Field.


PROVO, Utah — No. 7 BYU women’s soccer upended No. 1 UCLA 3-1 on Thursday night before a raucous crowd at South Field.


With its win over the Bruins, the Cougars achieved their first all-time win over a top-ranked team and just its fourth all-time over a top-5 opponent. 

"Obviously, this is a huge win for us against an outstanding UCLA team. What a great atmosphere for women's college soccer tonight. We love Cougar Nation."

Jennifer RockwoodBYU head coach

BYU’s three goals on the night became the most the Bruins have allowed since a 4-3 overtime defeat to Arizona State in 2021. The Cougars’ 2-0 halftime lead put UCLA in such a deficit for the first time since 2016.

While UCLA outshot BYU 20-15 on the night, the Cougars won with efficiency, scoring three goals off five shots on goal to the Bruins’ solitary goal off three shots on frame.

Physicality ruled from start to finish with the two top-10 teams combining for 16 fouls, 11 of which were assessed against UCLA. BYU overcame a first-half deficiency to overtake the Bruins 8-7 in corner kicks.

Former Bruin Ellie Walbruch recorded the game’s opening goal for BYU, along with an assist, in 52 minutes of play. Erin Bailey added two shots, both on goal, to go along with her third goal of the season. Rachel McCarthy’s first goal of the season came off of two shots. Olivia Wade-Katoa added a shot and an assist while Kendell Petersen pitched in a crucial two assists.

(Full recap below.)


BYU went to the locker room up 2-0 after a hotly contested opening half in which officials assessed two yellow cards and eight combined fouls.

A series of defensive playmakers bolstered the Cougars as they weathered a flurry of Bruin forays into the attacking third in the first half of the opening period. Allie Fryer foiled a UCLA corner kick in the 10th minute, returning the ball to Cougar possession and initiating a sequence in which Olivia Wade Katoa attempted her first shot of the game.

Petersen dispossessed a UCLA attacker in the 16th minute while Izzi Stratton dislodged the ball from a Bruin forward in the 18th. Bella Folino followed the defensive success with the Cougars' first clean shot of the night, forcing a save from UCLA keeper Neeku Purcell.

The Bruins threatened yet again in the 24th minute, plowing past the BYU defense before Laveni Vaka fired her afterburners to catch the Bruin forward and send the ball harmlessly out of bounds.

Despite being outshot by the Bruins to start the game, the Cougar attack found its rhythm and the back of the net beginning in the 25th minute of play.

Just 63 seconds after taking the field, Walbruch found a gap in the UCLA defense and split a duo of defenders to score the Cougars’ first goal of the night. Walbruch’s goal not only gave her two on the young season but came against none other than her former team, UCLA.

Fresh legs off the Cougar bench again proved fruitful in the 37th minute as Rachel McCarthy registered her first goal of the season and built the BYU lead to 2-0. Walbruch and Petersen advanced the ball to McCarthy who fired away and into the top left of the goal.

UCLA led BYU 13-6 in first-half shots and 4-2 in corner kicks, though the Cougars held the upper hand in shots on goal at 3-2.


The back-and-forth affair continued in the second half with increased physicality. Four UCLA fouls in the half’s first nine minutes weren’t enough to curb the persistent Bruin barrage. UCLA recorded two errant shots to open the half but found the mark in the 55th as Reily Turner cleared the Cougar defense and scored into the right of the goal off an assist from Ayo Oke.

The Bruins came threatening again in the 64th, though BYU again built a wall and barred the ball from the goal. Fryer led the BYU defense in again repelling the UCLA attack with a key block in the 65th. Olivia Smith-Griffitts’ defense proved pivotal in the 71st as she pried the ball away from a Bruin attacker and kept the visitors at bay.

The Cougar offense roared to life to close the game with Bailey coming off the bench to test the Bruin defense with a shot in the 73rd.

Bailey would not be denied a second time. The sophomore forward collected a pass from Wade Katoa and sent the ball into left of the goal for BYU’s third score on the night. Bailey’s score in the 79th proved decisive as the Cougars held on for the 3-1 win.

The Cougars return to play on Saturday as they take on in-state foe, Utah Valley on Clyde Field at 7 p.m. MT. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+.

"We just beat the best team in the country. It just shows we can compete with anyone. We put a lot of hard work into this game, and it showed."

Ellie WalbruchBYU forward