Lema Nets Overtime Winner For Bears
BERKELEY – California women's soccer claimed a 1-0 win thanks to an overtime goal from Karlie Lema. The Bears dominated possession and the chances before claiming the Pac-12 conference win on Thursday afternoon at Edwards Stadium.
Lema scored her sixth goal of the year and her fourth game-winning goal of the season. Alexis Wright started the movement as she was able to get down the right-hand flank and get to the end line. Wright cut the ball back to the edge of the six-yard box, where Lema was waiting. Lema took the first-time shot that was deflected and landed in the back of the net to give the Bears the win.
"We asked our players to be more aggressive when they entered the penalty box; to get at players, take people on 1 vs. 1 as opposed to trying to pass around them," head coach Neil McGuire said. "We wanted to create one-on-one opportunities to open shooting seams. Alexis did a great job taking someone on and cutting it back to Karlie. Karlie was composed on the finish, which was nice to see."
This is the eighth goal this season that the Bears have scored after the 76th minute, which has helped the team gain four extra wins and two ties from tied or losing positions.
The Golden Bears (7-4-3, 3-3-1) dominated possession in the first half and had the better opportunities. Noelle Bond-Flasza latched onto a loose ball and hit a laser to the bottom left hand corner of the net, which forced a diving save out of Arizona's Hope Hisey. Bond-Flasza had two first half shots, while Rilee Harmon had another attempt on goal.
The Bears had a 14-8 advantage on shots and an 8-2 advantage on corner kicks as Cal spent the majority of the game in their attacking half, but were unable to find the winner until Lema's 96th minute winner.
With time running out in regulation, Arizona (3-11-0, 0-7-0) had two opportunities in quick succession. A ball was played to Desiree Foster, but Courtney Boone chased her down and prevented a breakaway attempt. A minute later, a cross came in from Arizona's left, which Abena Aidoo cleared with a sliding attempt, while facing her own goal.
"Arizona has some difficult matchups for us offensively, because they're fast, they're powerful and they're aggressive," McGuire said. "I was pleased with our back line able to thwart most of those opportunities that could've caused us trouble. We're thankful they weren't able to execute and we were able to break the deadlock with a goal."
The Bears also welcomed senior Emma Westin back into the lineup for the first time this season. Westin is a fifth-year player, who led the team in scoring the past two seasons. The two-year team captain had missed the entirety of this season due to injury, before entering late in the first half to a roar from the bench.
"Emma's been on a difficult journey in recent months," McGuire said. "It's a testament to who she is for the players to react the way they did, to celebrate her getting back on the field. It was great to have her back as a captain, it was great to have her back as a player, but even more so as a person. She truly is outstanding."
The Bears will return to action on Sunday as they take on the Arizona State Sun Devils in the home finale at 12 p.m. on Pac-12 Bay Area. Prior to the game, the Bears will honor 10 seniors who have made invaluable contributions to the Cal soccer program: Abena Aidoo, Sydney Collins, Devin Lozano, Elle Lindenlaub, Paige Metayer, Makena Smith, Emily Smith, Emma Treasure, Emma Westin and Amanda Zodikoff.