Bears Drop Pac-12 Opener To No. 20 USC, 18-10
BERKELEY – Cal (1-3, 0-1 Pac-12) spotted No. 20 USC (3-2, 1-0 Pac-12) a five-goal lead just over 10 minutes into the Pac-12 opener for both teams Friday night at California Memorial Stadium and was never able to recover in an 18-10 loss to the Trojans.
Ella Heaney scored three of USC's first five goals and found the net a game-high five times, while Izzy McMahon equaled her game-high-tying five points with one goal and a game-high four assists. Kelsey Huff added three goals for the Trojans with Erin Bakes, Maddie McDaniel and Madison Waters collecting two each.
Quinnlyn Mason paced Cal with three goals while Marisa Kuberra matched her three points with a goal and a pair of assists. Olivia Dey added a pair of goals.
After USC's opening 5-0 run, the teams split the remainder of the first half with five goals each as the Trojans led 10-5 at the break.
Cal's first-half goals in order came from five different scorers – Amanda Morse (17:37, unassisted), Mason (14:56, assist Maya Lawliss), Marina Smith (10:36, unassisted), Dey (9:05, unassisted) and Megan Mix (1:39, free position shot). Smith, who normally plays defense, saw action in the midfield to score her second career goal.
Huff had three of USC's second five goals in the first half on assist from McMahon (12:47) and a pair of unassisted tallies with 2:51 and 1:07 remaining before the break. McMahon also scored her lone goal of the contest with 16:03 remaining while Waters picked up the first of her two goals with 9:57 remaining with both coming on free position shots.
USC pushed its lead to 12-6 just over four minutes after the break by sandwiching a Mason free position goal at 27:25 with an unassisted goal by McDaniel and a Heaney goal on an assist by McMahon with 28:42 and 25:54 remaining.
But the Bears crawled back to a 12-8 deficit after back-to-back goals from Lawliss (23:17) and Kuberra (20:30) on assists from Kuberra and Ashley Ward.
It was the closest Cal would get the rest of the game as USC got its advantage back to six goals when McMahon scored on a free position shot at 18:46 and Erin Bakes unassisted at 17:07. Cal was able to take one goal off the lead twice more and cut the Trojans lead to five at 14-9 on a goal by Dey (assist Kuberra) at 15:13 and 15-10 on an unassisted goal by Mason at 9:08 that sandwiched a tally by USC's Kate Ramsey (13:01). The Trojans scored the final three goals of the contest to ice the victory on an unassisted goal by Claudia Shevitz (8:27), a free position goal by Waters (6:32) and unassisted score from Heaney (2:27).
"I'm proud of the team for battling back a couple of times to cut USC's lead to four," head coach Brooke Eubanks said. "USC is a great team and a good Pac-12 opponent to open with. We have a good idea of the things we need to improve upon."
Cal will next host Arizona State (2-2, 0-1 Pac-12) at California Memorial Stadium this Sunday in a game that will be televised live by Pac-12 Networks and begin at Noon PT. Under current health and safety guidelines, no fans are permitted to attend games on the Cal campus.