Cal Caps Off Home Invite With Dominant Victory Over Hawaii

Sean Goebel/File

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Two days after the Cal women's soccer team's decisive 4-1 victory over Rice on Friday, it seemed like the Bears had found a more evenly matched opponent at Edwards Stadium.

In their opening game of the weekend's California Invitational, Bears had a 3-0 lead within 11 minutes of kickoff against the Owls. By contrast, Hawaii kept up nearly shot for shot, and it took 23 minutes for national team member Alex Morgan to slip a single goal past the Rainbow Wahine defense.

The Bears still struggled to break past Hawaii's solid back line at the 18-yard box, and only managed one more goal before the Rainbow Wahine found the back of the net.

But when Morgan chased her initial score with two more, it was game over for Hawaii.

Augmented by five goals from her teammates, Morgan's hat trick was just a small piece of the Bears' 8-1 thrashing of the Rainbow Wahine.

"It's awesome that we're bouncing back from letting goals in and getting eight goals and having everyone play and everyone do well," Morgan said.

In both games, coach Neil McGuire used the impending blow-outs to give all his players time on the field.

"We got great minutes out of a lot of the girls who haven't had significant time on the field," McGuire said.

Giving certain players more minutes had visible payoffs. In her first start for the Bears, freshman Genessee Daughetee assisted Morgan's second goal against Rice.

On Sunday, four players - Katie Benz, Kate Bennett, Mekenna DeBack, and Katie Suits - scored their first goals of the season.

Katrin Omarsdottir earned the additional minutes she was granted this weekend, assisting on two goals against Hawaii and creating significant opportunities in both games.

Though the Bears led 3-0 by the 12th minute, Rice proved to be a more challenging opponent than Hawaii. McGuire said the team knew from scouting reports that they could exploit the Owls' young defense early, but the rest of the game wasn't quite as one-sided.

"Our intent is never to let down, but we did," he said. "We got a little complacent, and as a result they scored."

But a 4-1 win is still significant, and McGuire said he was proud of how his team performed.

Unlike against Rice, Cal had to change its offensive tactics while facing the Rainbow Wahine.

For the beginning of the first half, the Bears easily took on Hawaiian defenders one on one using speed and skill. But the Rainbow Wahine were successful invading Cal's passing lanes. Morgan mentioned that the Bears adjusted their lineup from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3.

With more numbers up top and focus on quick, short passes, the Bears took advantage of the speed that worked for them against Hawaii. After regrouping at halftime, Cal's offensive strategy really paid off with a 5-0 shutout in the second half.


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

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