Cal Opens 2022 at UC Irvine, Hosts Chinese National Team
BERKELEY – California women's soccer will open the 2022 season on the road as they take on UC Irvine in the first contest of the new year on Thursday, August 18. Cal will then return home for an exhibition contest against the Chinese National Team on August 20.
The Bears return 30 players to the squad and add three impact players for the 2022 season. The 2021 team made a three-win improvement on the 2020 season, while boasting a young squad featuring the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, according to TopDrawerSoccer. Now, with a year of experience the 13-person class looks to make an impact in 2022.
Last year, Cal boasted a fantastic defense led by three-time All-Pac-12 goalkeeper Angelina Anderson. Anderson returns for her fourth season after recording seven shutouts and allowing less than a goal per game in 2021. The Bears also had a 337-minute shutout streak that spanned more than three games as the Bears secured shutout victories over Utah, Arizona and Arizona State.
Cal is 11-1-1 against UC Irvine all-time. The two teams played during the 2021 season, despite Cal creating the majority of the chances, UC Irvine scored a winner in double overtime to claim a 1-0 win.
The match against UC Irvine will be televised on ESPN+, while the exhibition against China will not be available on stream. Fans who are interested can come to the exhibition free of charge at Edwards Stadium.
Cal has had one of the best defenses in the country in 2021, allowing only 0.94 goals per game and only 9.67 shots per contest. Cal has controlled possession in the majority of their contests leading to a 13.3-9.7 advantage in shots. The Bears have only permitted opponents to register 69 shots on goal in 18 contests, 3.83 on-target attempts per game.
Consequently, the Bears posted seven shutouts in 18 games and only allowed more than one goal in five games last year.
Angelina Anderson is now fifth on Cal's all-time saves list with 200 in her career. Anderson also has 20 career shutouts and is tied for fourth on the school's all-time shutouts list after recording seven shutouts in 2021.
Anderson was named National Freshman of the Year in 2019 as well as Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Year and Freshman of the Year. She was the first player to win both Freshman of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year in the conference. She earned second-team All-Pac-12 in 2020-21 and third team honors in 2021 as she's proven to be one of the top shot stoppers in the nation.
The Bears bring back the majority of the team that played during the 2021 season. The squad finished the season with a three-win improvement from the previous season.
For the 2022 season, 30 players from last year's team return and only five players that saw minutes last year depart. Cal returns 149 starts from last year's team. Cal also brings back 14 of the 15 players that recorded points last year including 17 of the 18 goals and all 17 assists.
The Bears return student-athletes who have combined for 352 starts and 626 games played in their Cal careers.
BEARS MAKE BIG ADDITIONS
Cal only adds three players to the roster for the 2022 season, but they're all expected to make big contributions. Cal's lone freshman is goalkeeper Teagan Wy. Wy has been with USYNT at 11 different camps and tournaments and was rated as the 18th-best prospect in the class of 2022. She helped the USA to the 2018 CONCACAF Championship as the starting goalkeeper.
The Bears also add a familiar face in Kailee Gifford. Gifford spent four seasons at Cal, playing in 50 games and making 31 starts as a defender. She transferred to Pepperdine last year and started in all 10 games before getting hurt. She returns to Cal to use her final year of eligibility in 2022.
The Bears also add Mya Daily to the team in 2022 as a transfer from Long Beach State. Daily started at center back for the Beach, helping them lead the Big-West in goals against average and being named to the All-Big West freshman team.
NO. 1 RECRUITING CLASS MAKES GOOD
The Bears signed the top-ranked recruiting class in the country according to TopDrawerSoccer in 2021. The group of 12 players are in their second year in the program after some standout performances as freshmen.
Noelle Bond-Flasza, Cailin Bloom, Courtney Boone, Maya Griffin, Velize King, Kei Kitamura, Karlie Lema, Ari Manrique, Aasha McLyn, Ayo Oke, Aaliyah Schinaman, Alexis Wright and Jordyn Young make up the class.
Three of the Bears' top four scorers in 2021 were freshman: Karlie Lema (6 goals, 12 points) led the team while Ari Manrique (1 goal, 4 points), Jordyn Young (1 goal, 3 points) and Ayo Oke (1 goal, 3 points) also had an immediate impact.
Noelle Bond-Flasza (16 games), Courtney Boone (8 starts, Pac-12 Defender of the Week), Maya Griffin, Alexis Wright (2 assists) and Velize King have all seen time.
Oke, Bond-Flasza and Wright impressed enough to be called up to their respective National Teams for the CONCACAF U20 Championship in 2022.
Of the 12 recruits, 11 were ranked in the Top-200, including No. 25 Oke, No. 28 Manrique, and No. 36 Lema. TopDrawerSoccer gave nine recruits a four-star rating, with two rated as three-star athletes. Seven athletes have national team experience.
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