Men's Soccer: Youthful Bears Get in Gear Against USF

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With one foot on the brake and one on the gas, the Cal men's soccer team spent its early season like a kid with his new Porsche, trying to get out of first.

After three straight wins, the Bears look to have found the clutch.

Cal (4-2-1) beat a physical USF (3-4-1) team 2-0 Sunday at Edwards Stadium.

Starting three freshmen and six sophomores, the Bears used their quick possession style offense to create numerous chances.

Unlike earlier in the season when the team scored only two goals in its first four games, Cal put some of those chances in the back of the net.

"We've got all the talent in the world, but we just haven't been together that long," forward Garrett Terracciano said. "But now things are starting to come together."

Appropriately, it was freshman Tyson Wahl who scored the game's first goal in the 32nd minute, latching on to a Mike Munoz corner kick.

With a strike perfectly balanced between power and placement, the midfielder headed the ball into the upper right corner of the USF goal for his first collegiate score.

"It was exciting," Wahl said. "I've never scored a header before."

The youth movement continued in the 49th minute.

Receiving a long throw in, freshman Pieter Berger flicked the ball into a crowded eighteen-yard box and redshirt freshman Terracciano.

With his back to the Dons' goal, Terracciano redirected the ball and put a perfect set pass to Munoz, who drilled it into the net for his third goal of the season.

"I was six feet out, so I figured I could either place it or bury it, so I just kicked it as hard as I could," Munoz said. "I don't think the goalie had a chance."

Perhaps trying to take advantage of Cal's youth, USF played a physical match, committing 21 fouls to 17 for the Bears, and going for the body on every challenge.

"I thought it was kind of stupid," Munoz said. "Every time they were getting a little bit of momentum, they would foul us and give us the ball back."

The rough play didn't take Cal out of its game. The team continued creating chances late into the game, threatening more than once to score a third goal.

"Our intensity was incredible," Munoz said. "We came out and were all over them."

Munoz pointed out Cal isn't as young as last year. As many as eight freshmen, including himself, started for the Bears in 2001.

"We're young, but we're experienced," he said.

Cal has now reeled off three shutouts in a row, and the team's defense is finally getting some credit.

"We heard the USF scouting report on us was that our back four were weak," Terracciano said. "Anybody who thinks our back four is weak has another thing coming."

The Bears' all-sophomore back line will get its chance to change more minds Thursday at Santa Clara.

The No. 24 Broncos (4-1-0) eliminated the Bears from last year's NCAA tournament in a heartbreaking double overtime loss.

"It's kind of a rivalry because they beat us last year," said midfielder Angel Quintero. "They probably know we're going to come out hard but not as hard as we are."


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