Few things have not been accomplished by the BYU women’s soccer program under longtime head coach Jennifer Rockwood, but one of those things can be checked off that list after the Cougars defeated No. 1-ranked UCLA 3-1 Thursday night at South Field.

The victory marked the first time in BYU’s history that it beat the nation’s top-ranked squad.

“It’s one of the biggest wins,” Rockwood said. “That’s a huge win, a career win for these seniors, but we also know that it is just a game that’s preparing us for where we want to be at the end of the season and it should build us some confidence knowing that we can go out there and compete against some of the best teams and best players in the country.”

The Cougars have proven to be one of the best teams in the country themselves, entering Thursday’s contest ranked in the top 10 for the first time this season, checking in at No. 7.

BYU made the most of its opportunity, handing 2022 national champion UCLA not only its first loss of the season, but its first loss since last November.

“I think it really shows that we are one of the best teams in the country,” BYU sophomore forward and UCLA transfer Ellie Walbruch said. “We put a lot of hard work into this game and it showed.”

The match marked the first time that BYU had faced the nation’s top team in Provo since Stanford visited South Field in 2018. That night the Cougars were shut out in an 0-2 defeat.

Thursday, things were vastly different as the nation’s top ranked team was playing catch-up with the Cougars most of the night.

Prior to their matchup with the Cougars, the Bruins had allowed just one goal on the season. However, that changed in a hurry at South Field as BYU scored a pair of goals in the first half, taking a 2-0 lead into the break.

Walbruch was involved on both goals of the initial half. She gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute moments after getting subbed into the match.

Just 12 minutes later, Walbruch assisted another Cougar off the bench, senior midfielder Rachel McCarthy, on her 25-yard strike that found the back of the net in the 37th minute to give BYU the 2-0 lead.

“I remember Ellie Walbruch getting the ball,” McCarthy said. “I got that shot off and it was just amazing.”

BYU sophomore forward Erin Bailey was the third Cougar off the bench to score, giving her team a little breathing room in the 79th minute after UCLA inched within one goal in the 55th minute.

“We got tremendous minutes from our bench tonight,” Rockwood said. “We needed them. The first half, we were losing a little momentum and they brought us right back into it and then we had to rely on them in the second half too, so (it was) a really big team effort.”

The Cougars were cheered on by a large contingency of fans, with an attendance of 5,209 showing up for the historic victory.

“It was just a blast to see this environment,” McCarthy said. “Just having everything filled up, it felt like a national championship game.”

With a win like Thursday’s, the Cougars proved they should be in the conversation as a national championship contender. Only time will tell.

BYU continues its nonconference play with rivalry matches against UVU and Utah over the next couple weekends, and the Cougars will look to take some of Thursday’s positive momentum into those matches.