Perez's Two Late Goals Lift Huskies Over No. 13 Cal, 3-2
Oct. 19, 2008
SEATTLE - Veronica Perez scored the tying goal in the 75th minute then netted the game-winner in the 83rd minute to give the Washington women's soccer team a 3-2 victory over No. 13 California Sunday at Husky Soccer Field.
In their fifth consecutive game against a top-25 opponent, the Huskies finally got the big victory they needed to potentially propel them to their first NCAA tournament berth since 2004. The win snapped a four-game losing streak, all of which came against teams ranked in the top five.
The Huskies improve to 10-5-0 overall and 1-3-0 in Pac-10 play while California dropped to 9-5-0 and 2-2-0.
'The Pac-10 is tough. Anytime you can get a win, whether it's at home or on the road, it's great,' UW head coach Lesle Gallimore said of the conference that boasts three of the country's top six teams. 'Cal is a very good team. They're physically tough and athletic and good finishers. I told the team after the game that sometimes it's not going to be the prettiest game, especially the second game on the weekend. A lot of times it's about effort and attitude, fighting and battling and scratching and crawling and this was a dig-it-out, gut-it-out win for our team.'
The junior Perez (San Mateo, Calif.) continued her breakout season with two goals to give her 10 on the season, tied for fifth on the UW single-season charts. She also has five game-winning goals this season, tied for the third-best single-season total in UW history.
In a hard fought, well-played match, California took the early lead when Alex Morgan's shot was blocked by UW freshman goalkeeper Kari Davidson but Valerie Barnes knocked the rebound into the lower left corner to give Cal the 1-0 lead.
UW went into the half down 1-0, but got the equalizer less than two minutes into the second half when freshman Kate Deines (Issaquah, Wash.) chipped in a rebound from close range into the lower left corner after Melissa Beal's (Portland, Ore.) shot was blocked.
Cal took the lead back in the 68th minute when a Golden Bear player was fouled in the box and an indirect kick was awarded. After Megan Jesolva made the initial touch, Katrin Omarsdottir bent a shot far post into the upper right corner of the net to give Cal the 2-1 advantage.
The Huskies showed no quit in the final 15 minutes, sparked by Perez who took over the game. She scored her ninth goal of the season in the 75th minute when McKenna Waitley (El Cajon, Calif.) thread the needle and sent a through ball into the box which Perez knocked into the lower right corner.
The teams went back and forth over the final minutes, but in the 83rd minute Perez took a ball deep in the right corner of Cal's end, dribbled past two defenders and unleashed a shot far post which snuck just past the Cal goalkeeper for the game-winner.
Cal went on a furious attack in the final minutes but Davidson (Portland, Ore.) - making just her third career start and filling in for the injured Alex Phillips - came up with some huge plays to save the day. She came out to make a big save on a shot in the 86th minute then dove to her left to make another deflection off a free kick in the 89th minute to keep the game from going into overtime. She made a total of six saves in the match, three coming in the second half.
'Kari is starting to feel a little more comfortable,' Gallimore said. 'She came up with some big saves today and we couldn't be more thrilled. To come in as a freshman and have to play three-quarters against UCLA and an entire game against Stanford and have that pressure of those two losses and giving up that many goals on your shoulders, it's going to make or break what you can do. She shook it off today and her team did a better job of playing hard in front of her. Now she can get her feet under her and all we can ask is that she takes the experience and get better each game.'
UW will now hit the road for three matches against Pac-10 foes before wrapping up the conference season at home in November. The Huskies travel to Oregon next weekend to face Oregon State Friday at 5:30 p.m. and Oregon on Sunday at 1 p.m.
NCAA Women's Soccer
Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008
Washington 3, California 2
Scoring - 1, Cal, Valerie Barnes (Alex Morgan), 23:13. 2, UW, Kate Deines (Melissa Beal), 46:44. 3, Cal, Katrin Omarsdottir (Megan Jesolva), 67:25. 4, UW, Veronica Perez (McKenna Waitley), 74:14. 5, UW, Veronica Perez (unassisted), 82:19.
Shots - UW 12, CAL 15
Corners - UW 6, CAL 5
Saves - UW 6 (Kari Davidson), CAL 4 (Gina Pellegrini)
Fouls - UW 11, CAL 11
Offsides - UW 1, CAL 0
Records:Washington 10-5-0, 1-3-0
California 9-5-0, 2-2-0
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