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No. 5 Bears to Play Penn State in Happy Valley

Sep 10, 2013

BERKELEY – Fifth-ranked California takes its perfect record on the road again to battle Penn State on Friday, Sept. 13, at 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET in University Park, Pa. Cal boasts a 3-0-0 record after three nonconference wins, while the Lions have compiled a 2-2-0 mark. This will mark the first game between the two programs.

Fans can follow the game’s live stats via GameTracker and can keep track of the match through the Penn State men’s soccer team’s Twitter @PennStateMSOC.

Poll Position

Cal has earned the following national rankings this week: 3 (Soccer America), 4 (College Soccer News), 5 (NSCAA) and 5 (Top Drawer Soccer).

Scouting the Bears

  • Christian Thierjung was the hero at San Francisco on Sept. 25, when the freshman midfielder/forward scored the first goal of his career with 19 seconds left in the second half of the 1-0 Cal win
  • Fifth-year senior defender Steve Birnbaum leads Cal in points (5) and goals (20
  • Junior midfielder Seth Casiple leads Cal in assists (2)
  • After playing in the first three games of his career – and shutting out Georgetown and USF– redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Justin Taillole has compiled a 0.65 goals-against average
  • Cal’s co-captains are Birnbaum, Casiple and senior midfielder Alec Sundly
  • Kevin Grimes is in his 14th season as head coach at Cal; the former SMU All-American (class of 1990) claimed five Pac-10 Coach of the Year awards (2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010) before the Conference became the Pac-12 in 2011

Scouting the Lions

  • Penn State has dropped two straight – losing at Rutgers, 4-1, and at St. John’s 1-0 – after opening 2013 with a pair of 1-0 wins over Radford and Central Connecticut
  • At Rutgers on Sept. 6, senior defender Martin Seiler scored his first career goal for the Lions
  • Junior defender Eli Dennis leads PSU in points (3) and is tied for the team highs in goals (1) and assists (1)
  • Dennis scored the gamewinning goal against Central Connecticut
  • Junior Andrew Wolverton has compiled a 1.25 GAA after playing every minute in goal for Penn State so far
  • Veteran coach Bob Warming – the 2012 Big Ten Coach of the Year – is in his fourth year at the helm of the Penn State program

Thierjung Strikes Late as No. 4/10 Cal Beats USF

With the clock ticking away and the match looking all the world like it was headed for overtime, Christian Thierjung scored the first goal of his young career with 19 seconds left in regulation to give No. 4/10 California a 1-0 win over San Francisco on the night of Sept. 5 at Negoesco Stadium. The Golden Bears improved to 3-0-0 after the nonconference win, while the host Dons (2-1-0) suffered their first loss of the season.

Junior forward Stefano Bonomo assisted Thierjung, a freshman midfielder/forward, on the goal.

The result continued a trend of close games in the series between the teams; they tied, 0-0, in 2012, and Cal won 1-0 both in 2011 and in 2010.

Cal outshot the Dons, 12-10, including an 8-4 advantage in the second half, when USF goalkeeper Chase Hauser made all six of his saves. USF outshot Cal 6-4 in the first half, when sophomore goalie Justin Taillole made three of his five saves for the Bears.

Broadcast News

The Pac-12 Networks will broadcast a total of nine Cal games – including five home matches – this season. Cal’s next match on Pac-12 television is the Oct. 6 clash with conference foe Washington in Berkeley.

Next Time

Cal hosts Colgate on Sept. 20 and the College of Charleston on Sept. 22 on Goldman Field at Edwards Stadium.