Comeback Comes Up Just Short In 12-11 Loss To San Diego State
BERKELEY – Cal (0-2) scored six straight goals in the second half and twice cut a San Diego State (2-2) lead that had reached seven goals to one but the comeback came up just short in a 12-11 loss to the Aztecs on Sunday at California Memorial Stadium. The Golden Bears trailed 11-4 early in the second half but got to within 11-10 when Nikki Zaccaro scored unassisted with 5:32 remaining in the contest.
Cal had a chance to tie the game moments later but San Diego State goalkeeper Katy Sharretts saved Megan Mix's shot attempt with 4:03 to go and less than a minute later Cailin Young converted a free position shot with 3:17 to go to bump the Aztecs lead back to two.
San Diego State would end up needing the insurance goal when Mix scored with 0:48 remaining to get the Bears back to within one. San Diego State won the draw control after the goal and held onto possession until turning the ball over on its own half of the field with 0:03 remaining. Zaccaro was fouled with 0:01 to go and was able to get off a desperation shot that missed right of the goal as the final horn sounded.
"We definitely learned a lot today about our team," Zaccaro said. "We showed a lot of heart today."
Mix finished with a career-high five goals in her season debut. Zaccaro and Maya Lawliss added two each, while Marisa Kuberra and Quinnlyn Mason each had one. Mason had two of Cal's three assists while Lawliss and LizaBanks Campagna added one each.
"It felt great to be back out there," Mix said. "I genuinely cherish every second I get to play with my teammates. It's frustrating to come out of a tight game with a loss, but I'm really proud of this team for fighting back and playing to the final whistle. We are going to work hard and build off of today's efforts in order to prepare for our next game."
Bailey Brown and Courtney Robinson led the way for San Diego State with three goals each, while Julia Sheehan, Lexi Tan and Young picked up two apiece with Sheehan also tacking on an assist.
Sharretts finished with 13 saves in goal, while Cal split its goalkeeping duties between Riley Drullinger (9 goals allowed, 6 saves) in the first half and Lily Rathbun (3 goals against, 3 saves), who made her collegiate debut by playing the second half.
Cal never led in the contest that began with back-to-back goals by Brown and Tan in the game's early moments. Mix and Zaccaro answered to tie the game at 2-2 before Tan and Robinson gave San Diego State a 4-2 lead on Robinson's goal with 15:17 to go in the first half. Lawliss scored her first goal at 14:18 to get the Bears within 4-3 but the Aztecs would score the game's next five goals and seven of the next eight to go ahead 11-4 on Young's second goal with 21:47 to play before the Bears started their comeback.
"We really got the ball rolling towards the end, which is great going forward," Zaccaro said. "We had a lot of new people step up, which was huge. It's a good game to learn from going forward."
Cal next visits Fresno State for its first road game of the 2021 season on Friday (5 pm PT) before returning home to open Pac-12 play against USC (Friday, Mar. 12, 5 pm) and Arizona State (Sunday, Mar. 14, Noon). Under current health and safety guidelines, no fans are permitted to attend games on the Cal campus.