Cal Edges UNLV, 4-3, In Goalfest At Edwards
BERKELEY – Shoei Honda settled a back-and-forth affair when he scored in the 84th minute to give the Cal men's soccer team a 4-3 victory over UNLV on Sunday at Edwards Stadium. Jack Singer also netted two goals and Evan Davila scored one for the Golden Bears, who improved their record to 2-1-1.
UNLV's record is now 2-2-0.
"It was one of those games where you had to keep pressing and keep believing that you could turn the tide your way," Cal head coach Kevin Grimes said. "UNLV is obviously an outstanding team, so we had to bring everything we had and more today to get the victory. It was an amazing finish for us for certain and great for our team mentality moving forward."
"I feel very good and I'm very grateful to score for everyone who has supported me," said Honda, a Japan native. "Everyone's been helping me a lot, so I want to contribute what I can this season."
In a high-scoring affair broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks, the teams combined to produce three goals in the first four minutes and another in the 11th minute.
Cal forward Jack Singer scored first in the second minute, stripping the ball from a Rebel, dribbling into the box and lashing the ball past UNLV goalkeeper Lukas Betz.
Just 36 seconds later, the Rebels' Marco Gonzalez scored off a Lateef Omidiji Jr. assist to tie the game at 1-1.
At the 3:06 mark, Juan Martinez played a nice ball to Evan Davila on the flank, and Davila dribbled into the box and fired through some Rebel defenders to score Cal's second goal. The Bears led 2-1.
UNLV scored again in the 11th minute, with Gonzalez setting up Aedon Kyra for the tying goal. The Rebels outshot Cal, 5-4, the rest of the half, but the game remained 2-2 at the break.
The Bears outshot UNLV, 5-4, in the final 45 minutes, but the Rebels got the first goal of the half in the 65th minute, with Kyra assisting on Nicolas Likulia's strike to give the Rebels a 3-2 lead.
In the 82nd minute, Singer struck again for the Bears, taking a short pass from forward Fahmi Ibrahim, dribbling into the top of the box, eluding two defenders and firing past Betz for the equalizer. That marked the third goal in the last two games for the junior, who has played in the defense, in midfield and up front through four games.
"It's very rare you can put a play a player in three positions on the field and you're going to get an incredible performance no matter where he's at," Grimes said. "His play has been nothing less than sensational, and his contributions no matter where we ask him to go have been outstanding. We couldn't be more proud of Jack and his overall team-first mentality. He's just been great."
In the 84th minute, Martinez proved playmaker again. The junior midfielder/forward sent a long ball to Honda, who outraced the Rebels to the ball and fired a shot that eluded two defenders and Betz, caromed off of the goalpost and nestled into the net.
"We knew that with Shoei's experience playing in Japan that he's a guy who can score goals," Grimes added, "and certainly today he did a great job finding a little seam inside the 18 and putting away a great finish. Congratulations to him for his first Cal goal, and hopefully he has many more."
Cal next hosts Pacific in another nonconference game on Friday at 1 p.m. at Edwards Stadium.