Winless Trip to Arizona Without Star Forward Morgan Leaves Bears High and Dry
Monday, October 25, 2010
Category: Sports > Fall > Soccer (Women's)
Starting their weekend on the road, the Cal women's soccer team could probably entered their first game, Friday night at Arizona, with some confidence.
While the Wildcats posed a challenge, as any Pac-10 opponent does, their winless record - both in conference matches and in all previous games with the Bears - suggested an easier match for Cal.
However, the Bears finished their weekend in Arizona with the same way the Wildcats (5-9-2, 1-4 in the Pac-10) entered Friday's game in Pac-10 play: winless.
After dropping Friday's game, 1-0, on an Arizona overtime goal, Cal (7-4-5, 2-3-1) managed to defend its net for a scoreless overtime in a 1-1 tie at Arizona State yesterday.
The Wildcats' only goal on Friday - their first against Cal since 2006 - came from fresh feet. Freshman Shannon Heinzler ended the first overtime period in its final minute with her first goal of the season and Arizona's first ever win against the Bears.
It's a bit unexpected that the Bears' only weekend success came against the Sun Devils (8-4-3, 2-2-1 in the Pac-10), whose record suggested more a fight than the Wildcats.
Cal's first half against Arizona State showed the same lack of offensive fire as its scoreless game two days earlier. The Bears got just two shots past the Sun Devil defense, while Cal goalkeeper Emily Kruger made five of her eight saves in the first 45 minutes of the 110 minute match.
"Most teams are going to give us their best shot in the first 45 minutes," coach Neil McGuire said. "At that point, we tend to find our rhythm."
The Bears found that rhythm quickly in the second half, scoring the game's first goal within five minutes of its start. Junior Katrin Omarsdottir converted a pass from freshman defender Emi Lawson, who was stepping into offense at various times during the weekend in the absence of forward Alex Morgan.
But Cal couldn't keep up its first-half offensive momentum long enough. The Sun Devils answered the Bears' goal in less than 10 minutes, as Arizona State freshman Devin Marshall headed Kari Shane's free kick into the back of the net.
In spite of a more consistent offensive performance from Cal for the rest of the game, a Sun Devil defense bolstered by goalkeeper Alyssa Gillmore's four saves kept the Bears from seeing the net to regain their lead.
McGuire said the team played well on Sunday, but did not express the same sentiments about their Friday loss.
"We made a fairly large error to give the goal away," he said. "Unfortunately our goalkeeper didn't handle the ball particularly well, and essentially dropped it into the net.
"These are good teams. Good teams are always going create goal-scoring opportunities," McGuire said.
If that was the case this weekend, Cal will need to be even more aware of that fact this Saturday when they face No. 1 Stanford.
Alex Matthews covers women's soccer. Contact her at [email protected]
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