Cal Continues Undefeated Start With Win Over USF
BERKELEY –California women's soccer continued an undefeated start to the season with a 1-0 win over San Francisco on Thursday afternoon at Edwards Stadium. The Bears are 3-0-2 on the season and have not lost. The Bears handed San Francisco their first loss of the year as they dropped to 1-1-1.
The Bears collected the lone goal of the match in the 55th minute of play as Karlie Lema tapped home a rebound off a play that saw four freshmen combine to create the opportunity. Noelle Bond-Flasza whipped in a right-footed cross from the left flank, Velize King won the ball in the box, using her chest to pass it to Ari Manrique. Manrique took a side-footed shot, which USF's keeper Molly Eby was able to keep out, but Lema was the first to arrive on the scene and knocked in the rebound.
The Bears maintained that advantage through the rest of the game, collecting a 1-0 win and securing their third shutout in the first five games of the season. Cal did not allow a shot on goal during the game and has only allowed two goals in five games so far this season.
"We're of course pleased with a home victory as well as a shutout," head coach Neil McGuire said. "San Francisco is well-coached, very disciplined and obviously very talented. To have success in the way that we did is exciting for the team. But we have to make sure to continue to progress in our principles and priorities."
The Bears outshot San Francisco 20-9 and recorded 12 corners as they maintained offensive pressure throughout the game. The Dons made a late attempt to grab an equalizer throwing numbers forward in the final five minutes.
The Bears controlled possession in the first half, spending most of the period in the Don's end. Cal recorded 10 first half shots, with the best chance falling to Ari Manrique. She collected the ball 12 yards away from goal and fired a shot to the keeper's left, but Eby was able to parry it out for one of Cal's five first-half corner kicks.
"It's important versus an organized defensive unit to move the ball quickly," McGuire said. "I thought our ball speed and ball circulation was good and our decisions about when to attack and when to keep it improved significantly. It shows that we're developing maturity in those moments, which is a good thing for us this early in the season. We have to continue to build on that so we know how to keep the ball in critical times."
The Bears will have a week off from action after five games in quick succession to start the season. Cal will play the final game of a three-game homestand next Thursday as they take Sacramento State. 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. Sacramento State.