The Gophers’ Cinderella postseason came to a sudden end Friday night in Los Angeles.
Minnesota lost to UCLA 5-0 at Wallis Annenberg Stadium in the second round of the NCAA women’s soccer tournament. The Bruins were ranked No. 4 nationally and were the second seed in the region.
The Gophers (12-9-2) won the Big Ten tournament, even though they were seeded seventh, to get an automatic berth in soccer’s big dance. Then last week, they went to Auburn and won there, too, 2-0. It was their fourth consecutive shutout and first NCAA tournament win on the road after eight losses.
UCLA (16-3-1), though, had just too much firepower for the Gophers. The Bruins outshot the visitors 14-0 in the first half and took a 3-0 lead.
Chloe Castaneda gave UCLA a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute. Olivia Athens made it 2-0 on a rebound in the 28th minute and Hailie Mace got the next goal in the 35th minute. It could have been worse, but Maddie Nielsen stopped five shots.
Julia Hernandez scored the Bruins’ fourth goal in the 70th minute, going 1-on-1 with Nielsen and winning the duel.
Meg Gray got the Gophers’ first shot of the match in the 51st minute, but it sailed wide left of the frame.