Cal Scores Sweet Upset Against IU

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There may only have been a handful of spectators sprinkled about Edwards Stadium yesterday afternoon, but it didn't stop the field from erupting into pure chaos after the Cal men's soccer team upset No. 3 Indiana, 2-1.

Cal forward Kendall Simmonds hung onto an Edwards Stadium railing flanked by his family while a group of kids begged for his autograph.

Then there was the Hoosiers coach, Jerry Yeagley, bordering on the verge of harassment as he argued with the referees over a questionable handball call that would have sent the game into overtime.

And in the middle of all the craziness, the Bears bared little resemblance to the downcast squad that earlier in the season had gone almost 300 minutes without a goal.

Cal's play was far from perfect, but in the end, no one was thinking about the whiffed shots or even the team's 3-2 loss to No. 1 San Jose State the day before. All the Bears could think about was that they had just sent last year's NCAA College Cup champions back to Bloomington, Ind., winless in this past weekend's Cal/adidas Legacy Classic.

"This is why you play college soccer," Simmonds said. "As a senior I only have a few games left and I can't think of any other way I would want things to end.."

The Bears (6-11-1, 2-3-1 in the Pac-10) set the tone earlier in the match when Austin Ripmaster found his favorite target and sent a perfectly placed assist to a waiting Simmonds. The senior nailed the ball past the oncoming Indiana goalkeeper and put Cal on the board, 1-0.

It was absolutely fitting that the duo, which has combined for eleven points in the Bears' last four games (four goals, three assists), ran to the end of the field and celebrated in true soccer style, with a cleat-kissing tribute to arguably the world's top team.

"Manchester does this play called the 'Golden Goal' where the player who assisted on the goal kisses the scorer's foot," said Simmonds. "So we did it."

Only two minutes later Robbie Aylesworth got in on the action. After a scramble in front of the box, Aylesworth leapt over several Indiana defenders and headed the ball in to give the Bears a 2-0 cushion. The second half calmed down offensively and suddenly the focus shifted to the stellar goal tending of senior Marco Palmieri. Indiana (13-5-0) pelted away at Cal's goal, but Palmieri wasn't letting anything slip between the posts.

That is until Indiana's Pat Noonan found the back of the net on a killer left-footed shot.

"I definitely think the two stars of the game were Kendall and Marco," Grimes said. 'You have two forces on opposite ends of the field, two seniors wanting this win. They definitely pulled us together."

The Bears were on defense most of the second half, but avoided a second period melt-down.

As the game wound down, play became a little more frantic and several penalties were called. Cal couldn't capitalize on its free kick opportunities, but in the end it was a penalty call that saved the Bears the hassle of heading into overtime.

One of Indiana's players brushed the ball with his hand, but before a whistle was blown another Hoosier had rocketed the ball into the back of the Cal's net. Because of the foul before the shot, the referee ruled the goal invalid, preserving the Bears' upset.

"The Indiana coaches can yell, but ultimately no one game is decided on one call," Grimes said. "Everyone on the bench could see that it was a blatant hand ball."

The Bears entered their matchup after a close loss to SJSU (16-0-1, 6-0 in the Western Athletic Conference).

Grimes acknowledges that Cal's heightened level of play is due in large part to a solidified lineup. The Bears, who were plagued with injuries earlier in the season, have been able to use the same group of starters for the past five games.

"To be healthy makes all the difference in the world," Grimes said. "I know that the playoffs are out of reach for us, but right now we really are playing like a playoff team."


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