Jesolva Lends Helping Foot as Cal Outlasts Oregon State

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It was Megan Jesolva's last chance. In her final game at Edwards Stadium, the senior women's soccer player was playing to score the single goal that had eluded her for four years.

With less than five minutes of overtime remaining against Pac-10 runner-up Oregon State, it seemed Jesolva's senior game might have a fairy tale ending. The versatile midfielder got the ball in the left side of the 18 and fired a promising shot.

But if Beavers' goalkeeper Colleen Boyd had anything to say about it, Jesolva wouldn't score her coveted goal. The keeper deflected the shot, but the ball met freshman Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick's feet and found the back of the net shortly after.

"I screamed," Jesolva said of her celebration. "And then I cried."

Although Jesolva may not have achieved her goal, at least for regular season play, the assist was a fitting end to her career at Cal. Jesolva has always been a team player. She has assisted 18 goals in her time as a Bear, playing nearly any position in any state of physical health to be there for her team.

Making the assist that gained Cal (9-5-5, 4-4-1 in the Pac-10) its fourth conference win and strengthened the Bears' chances at an NCAA bid seems to fit Jesolva's role on the team.

"Whether I scored or someone else did, we won," she said. "At the end of the day, all that matters is I'm here to make my teammates look good."

The Bears needed that help to look good in the first half, when No. 13 Oregon State's physical offense was threatening Cal's net. The Beavers' forwards were successful both in maintaining possession and taking on defenders one on one. They outshot the Bears, 9-4, in the first half. Thanks to freshman Emily Kruger's six first half saves, that the game didn't end early for Cal.

The Bears came to life after halftime. The second half was characterized by a more coordinated offense on Cal's end and a higher speed and intensity of the match.

"We've been a second half team all season," McGuire said.

Oregon State was more limited in its attack, only racking up three shots in the seond half. The pace kept up until Fitzpatrick's goal handed the Beavers their second Pac-10 loss of the season.

Friday's game against Oregon took a less dramatic course. Fitzpatrick scored her first goal of the season in the 24th minute after sophomore Samantha Walker beat a defender down the wing and crossed it from the right side to Fitzpatrick in the box.

With an unstable 1-0 lead, Cal forwards Lauren Battung and Katrin Omarsdottir continued to pressure the Ducks.

"We've learned that we're better as a team when we have a lead to be the aggressor," McGuire said.

In the 83rd minute, that continued pressure solidified the Bears' advantage, when Battung followed through on her rebound to bring the lead to 2-0.

Tags: CAL WOMEN'S SOCCER, NEIL MCGUIRE, KAITLYN FITZPATRICK


Alex Matthews covers women's soccer. Contact her at [email protected]



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