Cal Falls At No. 13 USC, 20-11
LOS ANGELES – Amanda Morse scored the game's first goal one minute and 45 seconds into the contest but it would be Cal's only lead of the contest in a 20-11 Pac-12 road loss to No. 13 USC (9-2, 5-1 Pac-12) on a hot afternoon at Sony McAlister Field with the gametime temperature recorded at 100 degrees. Morse, Nikki Zaccaro and Liz Scott each had a pair goals for the Golden Bears with Scott adding two assists and a career-high nine draw controls. Five others – Olivia Dey, Maya Lawliss, Kennedy Mason, Kate Rothman and Catherine Roxas – scored one goal apiece for Cal. Kacie Riggs, Lily Berger and Lawliss each had one assist.
Ella Heaney led nine USC goal scorers with a game-high five, while Shelby Tilton and Claudia Shevitz each added four as the trio accounted for 13 of the 20 goals by a Trojans' team who played most of the game without the Pac-12's leading goal scorer Kelsey Huff after she was injured in the first quarter and did not return. Maddie Dora added two goals, while Huff, Michaela McMahon, Katie Ramsay, Isabelle Vitale and Madison Waters picked up one each.
Cal stayed close to the Trojans for much of the first half, tying the score at 2-2 when Zaccaro scored on an assist from Scott with 9:39 to go in the first quarter. After three consecutive USC goals, Cal would pull within two twice more in the opening half on a Roxas goal with 1:21 to go in the first quarter to get within 5-3 and Morse's second goal with 12:55 remaining in the second period that cut the USC advantage to 6-4.
But USC would answer with three straight goals and score seven of the next eight over the next just under 20 minutes of action to go up 13-5 when Heaney scored on assist from Ramsey with 8:00 remaining in the third period.
Cal rallied with the final four goals of the third to get back within 13-9 heading into the final period. The Bears' run started with a dynamic goal from Rothman, who took a high pass from Lawliss and in the same motion dunked the ball into the Trojans' net out of the reach of goalkeeper Kait Dever with 6:15 to go. Dey then scored on an assist from Berger on a give and go play with 4:50 to go followed by Lawliss' lone goal of the contest at 2:13 and Kennedy Mason's score on an assist from Riggs with 0:23 to go.
Cal kept its deficit at four early by trading goals with USC early in the fourth period. Zaccaro picked up her second goal on another assist from Scott with 13:28 to go and Scott tallied with 10:57 remaining to make it 15-11. But USC would score the game's final five goals to close out the victory.
Cal (1-13, 1-7 Pac-12) continues its current three-game road trip at No. T25 Arizona State (6-6, 4-2 Pac-12) this Sunday. First draw is scheduled for Noon MST/PDT) in a contest that will be live streamed pn the ASU Live Stream-2 channel.
— Nikki Zaccaro played in her 75th career game at Cal to tie Anna Ellest (2017-21) for the school's all-time games played record