Cal Comes Back To Earn Tie Vs. Saint Mary’s
BERKELEY – For the second straight game, California women's soccer scored after the 80th minute to earn a positive result. On Sunday, the Bears came back from a one-goal deficit to claim a 1-1 tie vs. Saint Mary's (CA) at Edwards Stadium.
The Bears fell behind on a 55th minute goal from Taylour Mendoza as she pounced on a loose ball and hit a left-footed curling shot into the goal.
The game changed dramatically in the 72nd minute as Saint Mary's Maya Alcantara received a straight red card. Alcantara took down Karlie Lema from behind as Lema tried to get on the end of a through ball. Alcantara was the last woman back as Lema looked to have a golden chance at goal.
After that moment, the Bears applied relentless pressure, Lema almost created the breakthrough with another great opportunity as she worked down the right flank, but her right-footed shot went wide.
The Bears' pressure paid off in the 83rd minute as Amaya Gray headed home a goal. Sydney Collins, playing further up the pitch after the red card, got down the right flank. She lofted a ball to the back post that went over the Gaels keeper, Taylor Poland's arm.
"Any time a team has to deal with a red card, it can be difficult for them," Head Coach Neil McGuire said. "So, we want to be assertive and aggressive with our play. Sydney is very good at dribble penetration and we wanted to get her on the ball as much as possible. She had a great service on the goal with the ball towards the back post and it was good to see."
Cal continued that pressure as Collins had an opportunity to put the Bears in front with a quick shot from a loose ball, but Poland was able to parry the ball wide.
"You have to credit Saint Mary's, they had an outstanding game plan and were super organized," McGuire said. "In regards to how we played, I don't think our ball circulation was fast enough to break down and find passing lanes to be able to attack them. As the game wore on and as they fatigued, we started to create more opportunities. It wasn't enough; we need to work on execution and we need to be more dangerous in front of goal. But for the most part, I thought our team played well in the latter part of the match."
Cal applied pressure in the first half, amassing seven corner kicks. One of those led to a header attempt from freshman Noelle Bond-Flasza, but the ball glanced wide of the net.
The Bears had a great opportunity when Karlie Lema broke through the defense off a long ball and was one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Lema made a move to get around the goalie and created contact with both the keeper and the retreating Gaels defenders. Lema fought through the contact, before falling and having the ball go out for another one of Cal's corners without a foul being called.
Cal outshot Saint Mary's (CA), 12-6, and had 12 corner kicks to only four for the Gaels. Saint Mary's was the fourth consecutive opponent that Cal has played that hadn't lost prior to the game vs. the Bears, however Cal has been able to go 2-0-2 against a tough early slate.
"We set up our schedule to be tested by a lot of good teams," McGuire said. "We have to be as prepared as possible early in the game to make sure we don't give up those goal-scoring chances against us, but we are very happy with the fact that our players are showing the character to dig out of the hole, but we have to be better to not put ourselves in that position."
The Bears will be back in action on Thursday as they continue a three-game homestand against San Francisco. The kickoff from Edwards Stadium will be at 4 p.m. and the match will be streamed live. Admission for all of Cal's non-conference matchups are free, including the matchup vs. San Francisco.