2008 Seaon Review
March 5, 2009
BERKELEY - The 2008 California women's soccer team recorded the program's 23rd winning season against difficult competition and was nationally ranked as high as No. 13 during the course of the year. The Golden Bears finished 10-9-1 overall and went 3-5-1 in Pacific-10 Conference play to finish sixth in the competitive league. The 2008 campaign also saw Cal, which is in its second year under head coach Neil McGuire, earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament for its fifth consecutive and 16th overall trip to the post-season.
On Aug. 24, in the season opener, California received its first road win of the year, defeating San Jose State, 3-1. Redshirt sophomore Lisa Kevorkian scored two goals and sophomore Alex Morgan scored one and added two assists, while the Cal defense held the Spartans to only four shots on goal.
The Bears split the Cal Invitational on Aug. 29th and 31st. They fell to Cal State Fullerton, 3-2, in overtime, but they bounced right back to defeat Saint Joseph's, 6-0, for their first home win of the season. Morgan and Kevorkian each scored two goals on the weekend, while four other Golden Bears - senior Nikki Schrey, freshman Katrin Omarsdottir, freshman Katie Suits, and junior Torrey Delaplane - tallied their first goals of the season.
On Sept. 6, in continuing nonconference play, California next recorded another shutout, this time against Missouri, 3-0. Morgan, Schrey, and Kevorkian all added another goal to their season tallies and freshman Camellia Senemar got her third assist of the season.
In the Saint Mary's Fall Classic the next weekend, Sept. 12 and 14, the Bears recorded their third and fourth consecutive shutouts by blanking Cal State Northridge, 1-0, in overtime, and then shutting down Boise State, 2-0. Junior Katie Oakes and Senemar both recorded their first goals of the season, while Kevorkian added a goal of her own to continue her brilliant play. Junior Katherine Daiss, Kevorkian, Oakes, Senemar were all named to the all-tournament team.
Next, the Bears met defeat twice on a road trip to Texas, where they saw the highest ranked teams of the season. Against the No. 10 Texas A&M, the Bears outshot their opponent 17-11, but were shut out, 1-0. Then, against No. 7 Texas, California lost a heartbreaker, 2-1. Morgan scored the only goal of the weekend for the Bears. Junior keeper Gina Pellegrini played the entirety of both games for the Bears and came up with 10 saves on the weekend.
California returned home to finish nonconference play with a game against the Brigham Young University and the Santa Clara Broncos on Sept. 25 and 28, respectively. Against BYU, freshman Danielle Brunache was a scoring machine and notched two goals, both off assists from sophomore Megan Jesolva, and California won, 2-1. Schrey led the Bears to a 1-0 victory over Santa Clara with a golden goal. Schrey's score was the third time that she found the back of the net against the Broncos in her Cal career. Over the weekend, California out shot its opponents, 44-9. The Bears finished nonconference play with a mark of 7-3.
California opened Pac-10 play at home by beating Oregon State, 1-0, on Oct. 10, and handily defeated Oregon, 5-1, on Oct. 12. Oakes scored the lone goal against the Beavers. Against the Ducks, Morgan earned a hat trick while junior Brianna Bak and freshman Miranda White scored their first goals of the year. The Bears out shot Oregon, 16-5, the fourth consecutive time Cal out shot an opponent with a double-digit margin.
Cal then went on the road to the state of Washington to face Washington State on Oct. 17 and Washington on Oct. 19, and dropped the two close matches. Against WSU, the Bears outshot the Cougars, 15-9, but were unable to find the back of the net, and fell, 2-1. Senior Valerie Barnes scored the lone goal for the Bears. Against Washington, scoring again proved elusive despite the fact that the Bears outshot their opponent, 15-12, but lost the match, 3-2. Barnes and Omarsdottir scored for California.
Next, the Bears hosted the desert schools. After falling behind to Arizona State, 2-0, after the first half, California battled back to force a 2-2 tie against the Sun Devils. Freshman forward Katie Benz scored her first goal of the season and of her Golden Bear career, while Schrey added another tally to her count. The Bears then dropped Arizona, 2-0, off of goals by Benz and Morgan. Freshman goalie Jordan LaFontaine-Kussman only had to make one save all day to record her first-ever complete-game shutout. Cal continued its offensive prowess as it outshot the Arizona schools, 34-10, in the two games.
California could not get on the board against USC on Oct. 31, and it fell, 2-0. On Nov. 2, the Bears were blanked by eventual Pac-10 champion UCLA, 3-0. Morgan had four shots on goal for the weekend, but it wasn't enough to overcome the 39-14 shot advantage by the Los Angeles schools.
Cal returned home Nov. 8 to take on Stanford for the Bay Area Derby to finish out the regular season. The then No. 3 ranked Cardinal proved too much for the Bears, who lost, 3-0.
California received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament for the program's 10th trip to the Big Dance in the past 11 years. The Bears traveled to Gainesville, Fla., to take on the No. 7 Gators. Even though they put up a very strong showing, outshooting Florida, 14-8, the Bears lost, 2-1. Freshman Natasha Richardson scored her first goal of the season and her Bear career for California's lone goal.
Over the course of the season, Cal outscored its opponents, 35-26, and spent every week in the rankings until the losses against the Southern California Pac-10 schools. Fourteen different Bears scored with Morgan leading the way with a team-high nine goals. Kevorkian had six goals of her own and Schrey added four tallies to the board. Goalie Gina Pellegrini was the usual net-minder and recorded 48 saves on the season and owned a 1.39 goals against average.
Cal had nine players named to the All-Pac-10 academic team. Kevorkian received second team honors while seniors Nkechi Kanu and Schrey, juniors Daiss, Bak, Oakes, and Pellegrini, and sophomores Emily Shibata and Morgan were all named by the Pac-10 as honorable mentions.