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LOS ANGELES - Playing against a No. 1 ranked team for just the second time in program history, the LMU women's soccer team drew a 1-1 tie against the top ranked UCLA Bruins Friday night at Drake Stadium.
"To take this UCLA team, which is so talented and so deep through 110 minutes is a really big statement of how hard we worked and defended as a team," said LMU head coach Michelle Myers. "I am super proud of them and how hard they worked tonight."
Sophomore defender Jenni Benger put the Lions (4-2-1) on the board, and in the lead, in the 27th minute, heading home her first goal of the season off a corner kick from freshman Jocelyn Blankenship. The Bruins' Kristiana Konkol tied the game just 3:36 into the second half, but neither team could find the back of the net for the go-ahead, each posting its first draw of the season.
"When the first half started we were doing a decent job of holding onto the ball and moving it around a big," said Myers. "And then we get the corner kick and the goal and now it's a matter maintaining that intensity of play. Defending was such a big thing tonight."
Benger's goal was one of just four shots the Lions were able to get off all night against a stingy Bruin defense, which had allowed just one goal in its first four games of the season. Blankenship had a pair of shots, including one on goal with less than three minutes remaining in regulation. UCLA's Alana Munger came up with the save on the shot.
UCLA (4-0-1), meanwhile, peppered LMU with 27 shots for the balance of the game, but managed just seven on frame. LMU junior goalkeeper Brittany Jagger came up big time and time again, finishing with six saves, including two in extra time to preserve the tie.
The Lions entered the match with just one previous all-time meeting against a top-ranked opponent - a 1999 meeting with then No. 1 Santa Clara, which resulted in a 4-0 Bronco victory. Friday's draw also marks the best result in program history against the Bruins, which had won all 11 previous meetings with the Lions.
LMU returns to Sullivan Field on Sunday, hosting the Idaho State Bengals at 11 a.m.