Cal ties Northwestern in double overtime

The Cal men’s soccer team is no stranger to overtime games. Last year, the Bears played in 12 overtime matches, including nine double overtime games.

Thursday’s game against Northwestern was an early reminder in Cal’s young season.

The crowd at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., saw a copious number of substitutions in the 0-0 double overtime tie.

They also saw an impressive effort from sophomore goalkeeper Robby Gogatz, who had eight saves.

“It was tough out there tonight,” Gogatz said. “We didn’t get the win, but we’re glad to have kept that clean sheet.”

The No. 7 Bears (1-0-1) made 21 substitutions throughout the 110 minutes of action. Northwestern (0-1-1) made 14 substitutions with 10 of those coming in the second half.

With less than 10 minutes gone in the match, the Wildcats had already registered the first two shots, both on target. Northwestern’s Reed Losee wasn’t able to beat Gogatz on either occasion.

The Wildcats continued to dominate play early on with two more shots at Cal’s end. Losee and company were creating havoc for the Bears’ defense, and it seemed only a matter of time before his squad got on the board.

Cal coach Kevin Grimes put his faith in freshmen Seth Casiple and Christian Dean from the start for the second time in as many games this season. But things were not looking promising for Cal as Grimes shuffled his lineup fervently as the midway point of the first half was slowly approaching.

The Bears had a shaky match with few attacking moments worth noting. Kyle Lunt’s shot in the first half and co-captain Steven Birnbaum’s header were both saved by Northwestern goalkeeper Tyler Miller.

The Wildcats had eight corner kicks in the contest; the Bears had just one.

Cal couldn’t muster a shot in the first overtime period. It wasn’t until the second overtime that sophomore midfielder Kyle Marsh took a shot, only to be blocked.

The Wildcats, meanwhile, managed a total of five shots over the course of the two overtime periods.

“Playing away and in high 90-degree temperatures isn’t easy,” junior co-captain Tony Salciccia said. “We worked hard and plan on taking this momentum into Sunday.”

The Bears will travel to Storrs, Conn., to face off against No. 4 Connecticut on Sunday for their final game of the weekend.