Cal Just Misses Upset Of Unbeaten No. 12/13 Stanford
BERKELEY – Nine Cal seniors that were honored in a pre-game ceremony Saturday on Senior Day at California Memorial Stadium nearly helped the Golden Bears pull off an upset of unbeaten No. 12/13 Stanford before falling to the Cardinal, 9-7.
"We've been facing a ton of talented teams lately and Stanford is one of the best," head coach Brooke Eubanks said. "When you play the best you have to bring your best and strive to compete for 60 minutes. Today, we were able to put 60 minutes together, but we just needed to finish a few more shots."
Amanda Morse scored the goal of the game unassisted with 24:49 to go in the first half to give Cal an early 1-0 lead but the Golden Bears then fell behind 4=1 quickly after Stanford goals from Ali Baiocco (23:02), Daniella McMahon (18:36), Galen Lew (15:48, assist Baiocco) and Mikaela Watson (11:48).
Cal responded with four consecutive goals of its own with the final two before the break and two more early in the second to take a 5-4 lead when Marisa Kuberra scored unassisted with 23:55 to go in the contest. Nikki Zaccaro started the stretch on an unassisted goal with 9:46 to go in the first half and then assisted on a Kuberra goal at 4:35 that closed out the first half scoring. Maya Lawliss continued the run with an unassisted goal less than a minute after the teams returned from the break at 29:03 to tie the game at 4-4 prior to Kuberra's goal that gave Cal its only lead of the contest.
Cal held onto its 5-4 advantage for more than 14 minutes until Anna Griffith scored the first of five Stanford goals over the final 9:33 on an assist from Baiocco to tie the game at 5-5. The Cardinal was back in front 23 seconds later when Katy Gilbert registered an unassisted goal with 9:10 to go.
Stanford held its 6-5 lead for over four minutes until Zaccaro assisted on an Olivia Dey goal with 4:49 remaining to even the game at 6-6 but just 20 seconds later Stanford was out in front again on Jacie Lemos' unassisted tally with 4:29 remaining that was followed in quick succession by goals from Watson (3:50, assist Ailish Kell)y and Katherine Gjertsen (2:58, assist Griffith).
Ashley Ward got one goal back for the Bears when she scored off an assist from Catherine Roxas with 2:18 to go and the Golden Bears had other chances but missed three shots over the next 1:03. Cal briefly thought it had cut the Stanford lead to 9-8 but a shot by Zaccaro that found the back of the net with 0:47 to go was ruled a dangerous follow through, which negated the goal and assessed Zaccaro with an automatic yellow card that put her on the bench for the remainder of the game.
"Unfortunately Nikki's goal was called back and the explanation given was a dangerous follow through into the defender's leg," Eubanks said.
Zaccaro and Baiocco would finish the contest with a game-high-tying three points on one goal and two assists each, while Kuberra and Watson shared game-high honors as the only two players in the contest with a pair of goals.
The day included many highlights and a couple of milestones starting with a pre-game ceremony to honor the team's nine seniors Ella Annest, LizaBanks Campagna, Sophia Cerino, Kuberra, Kamryn Lanier, Joanna Levin, Marina Smith, Ward and Zaccaro.
"To play with my eight best friends it meant a lot," Zaccaro said. "When we stepped on the field today, we were ready to show what we've put into this program for four years … We were all very excited to get one last game on Memorial. We had a great fan turnout, and it was a great way to lift each other up."
Annest played in the 74th game of her career, while Campagna finished the contest with a share of both Cal's all-time and single-season draw control records. After recording two draw controls against the Cardinal, Campagna is tied with Megan Tackas (174) on Cal's all-time list with 174 and Elizabeth Koehler (2018) on the single-season list with 76.
Lily Rathbun equaled a career-high with nine saves for the fourth time in 2021 before the Bears went with an empty net for the final 2:18.
"Lily stepped up big today not only as a goalie but also as an eighth defender by causing some turnovers and getting some ground balls," Eubanks said.
The Bears led the Cardinal in several statistical categories including shots (27-25) and caused turnovers (12-6).
Cal next plays at the Pac-12 Championship to be hosted May 5-8 at Stanford. The event will be televised live by the Pac-12 Network with game times and seedings yet to be announced.
"We have built confidence and toughness through our Pac-12 play and look forward to the opportunity to compete again. We have unfinished business to take care of," Eubanks said.
"Postseasons are made for upsets," Zaccaro added. "It's win or go home, and I think we know that."