The buzz at Edwards Stadium for the Cal women’s soccer team’s season opener probably also fed off this summer’s World Cup performance by new U.S. star (and former Bears standout) Alex Morgan.
On Friday afternoon against Pepperdine, Cal surely could have used her offensive talent.
The now Morgan-less Bears squad struggled at finding the back of the net in a 2-1 loss without the star striker who led the team in scoring in all four of her seasons at Berkeley.
As it happened, the player who shined in this game was not wearing blue and gold — rather, Waves forward Anisa Guajardo provided all of the offense for her team.
After a scoreless first half which saw the Bears hold an 8-5 shot advantage, a defensive lapse inside the box during a throw-in led to a goal by Guajardo in the 50th minute.
The score would remain 1-0 until the 83rd minute when Guajardo again showed fancy footwork, dribbling around her defender to bury the ball past sophomore goalie Emily Kruger — who had six saves in the game — for a 2-0 Pepperdine lead.
The resilient Cal team would answer quickly with an 86th minute goal by junior Lauren Battung, who may be looking to lead the team in scoring after her seven goals last season were second-highest only to Morgan.
(Incorrect spelling aside, the gentleman with the body-paint “jersey” reading “Batong” certainly believes she’s ready for that role.)
Battung’s goal brought a sense of hope to the team who had several opportunities to tie the game before the final horn sounded. Offensively, the Bears’ inability to capitalize on their 14-9 total shot advantage proved to be costly.
Cal looks to bounce back at home this Sunday against San Diego State. The game will take place at Edwards stadium at 1 p.m.