No. 15 Stanford Drops 1-0 Heartbreaker to Cal
Nov. 5, 2006
Berkeley, Calif. - The Cardinal women's soccer team dropped a close decision to California this afternoon, falling 1-0 at Edwards Stadium in Berkeley. Freshman Brianna Bak scored with just over a minute remaining to lift the Bears over the Cardinal. Cal snapped Stanford's six-game winning streak and improves to 11-4-5, 3-3-3 with the win, while the Cardinal falls to 13-6-1, 6-2-1.
The Cardinal struggled in the first half, and for just the second time since August, failed to dominate the game in both possession and scoring opportunities. The Bears took the first four shots of the match, with the first opportunity coming just over two minutes in.
In the 19th minute, the Bears nearly took the lead on a breakaway by Lisa Kevorkian on the right side. The freshman gunned a hard shot at Erica Holland, but the Stanford goalkeeper dove and knocked the ball off course. Senior Rachel Buehler stepped into the open box to deny the Bears a goal.
Stanford got its best chance of the half in the 34th minute, when freshman Alicia Jenkins battled through the Cal defense on the right side. Jenkins sent a ball toward the left corner of the goal, but the attempt rolled just wide.
In the 37th minute, Holland stepped up for the Cardinal with three impressive plays to keep the Bears off the board. Cal junior Caroline Lea sent the first blast at Holland, but the junior made a diving save that was cleared by Marisa Abegg. The Bears quickly got the ball back and sent a long cross toward the net that Holland tipped out, before Valerie Barnes drilled a shot at the net that a diving Holland once again knocked off frame.
The match remained scoreless at half, but the Bears led in the shot column, 7-2.
Cal continued to threaten in the second half, when Nadia Al-Lami put a header on frame that was saved by Holland. The Cardinal followed with a similar play, when senior Shari Summers found Allison Falk on an indirect free kick, but Falk's shot went high. The Bears forced another diving save by Holland in the 60th minute, when Julia Schnugg got a hold of a cross off of an indirect free kick.
The Cardinal saw their best chance in the 72nd minute, when freshman Ali Riley pinned a shot off of a Cal defender off that was deflected toward the right corner of the net, but Golden Bear goalkeeper Anna Key recovered in time to stop the slow-roller from going in.
In the 76th minute, Riley beat the Cal defense and was taken down on a breakaway on the left side. Summers took the kick from just outside the box, but the ball was blocked by the Bear defense. Stanford had a final chance in the 89th minute, when Lea MacKinnon found Jenkins in front of the net. Jenkins squared to the goal, but her shot missed high.
The Bears were fouled on the next trip down the field and set up the game-winning play on an indirect free kick. With just over a minute remaining on the clock, senior Alivia Mazura sent a ball in the direction of Kevorkian. Kevorkian headed the ball off the cross bar, and Bak followed up the shot with a header that found the back of the net.
Playing without leading scorer Kelley O'Hara, the Cardinal was out-shot 13-6 and allowed the Bears an uncharacteristic seven shots on frame. Erica Holland finished with a season-high six saves. Jenkins led the Cardinal with two shots.
The loss, combined with a pair of wins by Oregon and UCLA, drops the Cardinal to third place in the Pac-10. Stanford now awaits tomorrow's NCAA Tournament pairings to learn its postseason fate. The bracket will be announced between 12 and 1 p.m. Pacific on ESPNews.