Cal Extends USC To Overtime Before Falling, 12-11
BERKELEY – Cal hung with one of the top teams in the Pac-12 for 60 minutes of regulation play at USC before allowing a goal during the game's only sudden victory overtime possession in a 12-11 loss to the Trojans. Kelsey Huff had the game winner unassisted with 4:47 remaining in the extra period after the Trojans' Lizzy Wagner had won the draw control to give USC the first and only possession of the extra period.
Cal trailed 11-9 before scoring twice in the final minute of regulation to send the contest into overtime. USC won a critical draw control after Madison Waters scored the Trojans' final goal in regulation with 2:50 remaining and was able to nearly run the 90-second shot clock down to zero before Ella Annest caused a Katie Ramsey turnover with 1:25 to go that Maya Lawliss quickly picked up and moved the ball back into Cal territory, where Olivia Dey connected on the first of the Bears' two goals in the final minute at 0:53 after Nikki Zaccaro found her cutting in front of the Trojans' goal.
After a timeout by Cal with 0:53 remaining, Campagna won the draw control and raced down near the Trojans' goal, where she was fouled to set up a free position attempt and then connected on the defender's first career goal on the subsequent free position attempt with 0:41 remaining.
"When I lined up for that last draw I knew it was the one that really mattered and because Kennedy is so skilled I knew where she was putting it," Campagna said. "As for the shot, I've practiced it before just for moments like those, and I was confident in my abilities. Ultimately, my teammates are the ones who gave me the confidence to not only take that shot but make it, and I think it's a credit to our team chemistry and how we back each other up."
"Those were huge plays by LizaBanks near the end of the game," Cal head coach Brooke Eubanks said. "We gave the green light for her to decide if she wanted the shot and she stepped up to put it away."
But it would be the Bears' last possession.
Huff won the draw control that followed for USC although the Bears were able to keep the Trojans out of the net to extend the game into overtime when Lily Rathbun saved Ella Heaney's shot in the final seconds of regulation.
After giving up the game's first goal to Waters just 50 seconds into the contest, the Bears ran off five consecutive scores over a span of just under 15 minutes to take a 5-1 advantage. Zaccaro started the 5-0 run with an unassisted goal with 27:26 to go and then assisted on a Lawliss goal with 24:57 to give the Bears a lead they would hold until late in the second half. Kuberra scored her first goal of the game on a Lawliss assist at 20:19 and Quinnlyn Mason got into the scoring column on assist from Amanda Morse with 20:19 to go before Kuberra scored on an assist from Ashley Ward with 12:29 remaining.
Huff (assist Clauda Shevitz) and Mason (unassisted) traded goals at 6:16 and 2:22 in the final minutes of the first half to give Cal a 6-2 advantage at the break.
"It was the most consistent first half we have played all year," Eubanks said. "When you play a talented team like USC you have to start out strong. The team stayed confident, trusted themselves and the game plan. They kept fighting every minute of the game."
But it would take the Trojans just over eight and a half minutes at the start of the second half to tie the score at 6-6 with Huff on assist by Finley Ueland (29:38), Ramsey on a free position attempt (27:45) and two Waters goals unassisted (25:26) and on a free position attempt (21:22).
Kuberra put the Bears back in front, 7-6, by converting a free position shot with 19:26 but Izzy McMahon answered with the first of her three goals (all in the second half) also on a free position shot less than a minute later at 18:35.
Cal seemed to reestablish control of the game when Kuberra scored with the Bears a player down at 15:39 and Morse converted a free position attempt at 10:36.
"We knew the name of the game today was going to be momentum and energy," Kuberra said. "Both teams are very gritty, and we had to earn the opportunity to win that game with every possession. The defense and offensive were constantly backing each other up when we needed it the most."
The Bears held onto the two-goal lead until McMahon started a USC scoring frenzy with back-to-back tallies at 6:39 (unassisted) and 5:08 (free position) to tie the game before Huff (3:46) and Waters (2:50) followed with unassisted goals that put the Trojans back in control until the final last-minute heroics by the Bears.
Kuberra finished with a career-high-tying four goals, while Zaccaro matched her four points on one goal and three assists and Mason had two goals. Waters and Huff finished with four goals each for the Trojans while McMahon had three.
"It's always a good feeling when your teammates can find you on the doorstep of the 8-meter, and today I credit Lawliss, Zaccaro and Ward for setting me up," Kuberra said.
Rathbun had a career-high-tying nine saves for a Cal team that was outshot, 33-17. USC also finished with a significant advantage in draw controls (18-7) after Cal had outdrawn nine of its first 13 opponents.
The Golden Bears' loss was their fifth in a row with the opponents' margin of victory a slim two goals or less in each contest and a combined total of only seven in the five games.
Cal next plays at Arizona State this Sunday (1 pm MST/1 pm PDT).