Bears Beat San Jose State, 2-0, in NCAA Tournament
Nov. 21, 2003
Berkeley, Calif. - Cal advanced to the second round of the NCAA Men's College Cup Friday after a 2-0 victory over visiting San Jose State. Both teams fought severe winds that forced most of the play onto one side of the field.
With the win, Cal moves on to the second round of the NCAA Tournament to play No. 11 seed UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. in Santa Barbara. Last year in Berkeley, Cal beat the Gauchos in the NCAA Tournament's second round, 2-1.
Both Cal and San Jose State seemed tentative coming out the first few minutes of their first-round clash. The blustery winds also made it difficult to string together passes. Cal was the first to organize with the wind at its back. In the eighth minute Pieter Berger and Carl Acosta played a nice little one-two up front. Yohei Fukuda slid into open space on the right side where he received an Acosta pass. He sent a shot through traffic, which seemed to catch San Jose State goalkeeper Tyler Tratten off-guard. The ball found the left corner of the net past Tratten's dive.
With the clear momentum, Cal continued to press forward. In the 12th minute, the Bears made it 2-0. Kyle Navarro made a run up the field from his right defensive back position. He sent what was certainly a cross toward Berger in the middle. Berger missed the ball entirely, but Tratten was caught off guard. Berger unintentionally acted like a decoy and the ball went slowly passed a helpless Tratten.
Both Navarro and Fukuda scored their first ever playoff goals. The pair was familiar with scoring against San Jose State, though. They had both done so in Cal's dramatic 2-1 overtime win over the Spartans on Nov. 9.
The Bears outshot the Spartans 10-2 in the first half, including six shots on goal. But once the second half started, it was clear how great a factor the wind was in this game. Now more of the play was in Cal's own end with the wind at the Spartan's back. San Jose State created many more chances with the advantage.
Troy Roberts saved a certain goal off the goal line as the Spartans crowded the penalty box looking for life. The always dangerous Randy Poggio almost scored, but his breakaway chip shot sailed over the net. The Spartans outshot the Bears 8-4 in the second half.
The two teams settled down after a tempestuous first half and played more free flowing soccer. Cal played tight defense on the back line as it has done all season. The Spartans, who were missing starters Johnny Gonzalez and Frank Sanfilippo to red cards they earned in the MPSF Championship game last Sunday, couldn't break through.
Head Coach Kevin Grimes commented on his team's phenomenal final season stretch to get into the postseason.
'We felt like our last three games of the season were playoffs game,' said Grimes. 'We all came together and felt like we needed to win all three to get into playoffs. Those three games really prepared us for this afternoon. The guys seemed very confident and loose in the locker room. They came out with a lot of enthusiasm and energy and I really think those games with our backs against the wall prepared us for these playoffs.'