Shoei Honda's Strike Leads Cal To Win Over CBU
BERKELEY - Shoei Honda's 78th-minute goal handed the Cal men's soccer team a 1-0 win over California Baptist on Saturday at Edwards Stadium and served as an early birthday present for Leonard Griffin, who earned his first victory as Cal's head coach one day before his birthday.
The Golden Bears improved their record to 1-1-3. CBU is now 3-2-0.
On the scoring play, Cal midfielder Evan Davila stole the ball from a Lancer in midfield, nutmegged another CBU player and then paased to Nonso Adimabua, who was forging towards the CBU box. Drawing multiple defenders, Adimabua passed to Honda on the far post, and the sophomore forward slotted the ball past goalkeeper Nolan Premack for the goal.
"Whenever you get a shutout and put the ball in the back of the net it's a good sign," Griffin said. "I'm happy we were able to hold off this game. When you look at our last few games, that's been a theme for us; we just needed to close out games. I was really proud of the group for their efforts in defending today. Hats off to them.
"We just needed the guys to make plays, and it was a really big-time play on the goal – Evan coming through, finding Nonso, who made a heck of a square pass for Shoei. And his composure in the box to finish was classy. I'm just excited for the group to get this first one out of the way."
Added Griffin, "The birthday is almost just another day for me, but I'll take the result if that's a present."
"It's been tough that we have been tying a lot of games, and I wanted to score to help the team and contribute to winning," Honda said. "It felt good."
Sunday's win snapped a string of three consecutive 1-1 ties for the Blue & Gold.
The Bears had the best scoring chance of the first half, as Fahmi Ibrahim whipped a dangerous cross into the CBU penalty area in the 45th minute. Adimabua nodded the ball on frame from about eight yards out, but Premack made the save.
Cal goalkeeper and team captain Collin Travasos made three saves and snared several crosses.
"It was good to get the first one," Travasos said of the victory. "We did what we came to do, and we're fired up. Hopefully we can carry this momentum and take some wins in the Pac-12."
The Bears begin Pac-12 Conference play when they host San Diego State on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 4 p.m. and then battle UCLA on Sunday, Sept. 18, at 4 p.m.