Diouf’s three goals halt Bears

There were three spots and a three-goal deficit separating the No. 7 Cal men’s soccer team (1-1-1) and No. 4 UConn (3-0-0) as the Huskies sent the Bears home with their first defeat of the season. Sunday’s game at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium was postponed due to a lack of power around the stadium. The recent hurricane in Connecticut caused the game time to be changed to three hours earlier — to keep with the theme of three.Despite the harsh conditions out there, UConn increases its winning streak as the two programs were meeting in only their third matches of the early season. Cal and UConn played in front of a sell-out crowd of around to 4,400 fans in Storrs, Connecticut.

The Huskies’ sophomore forward Mamadou Diouf scored — you guessed it — three goals to lead his team to a 4-1 victory.

Cal goalkeeper Robby Gogatz hadn’t allowed a goal yet in 2011 and featured an impressive 11 saves in the past two games. The shots stats finished 19-8 for UConn.

Cal’s lone goal came from Michael Munoz in the second half. The Bears trailed 2-0 before the junior forward scored his first goal of the campaign from sophomore defender Ryan Neill’s assist. Neill’s long throw-in found Munoz as he flicked the ball past the UConn goalkeeper with his head into the far post. The Bears’ only other shots on target were two from co-captain midfielder Tony Salciccia.

“It wasn’t our best performance,” Munoz said. “At least we didn’t allow them a clean sheet, but things weren’t going for us that night.”

UConn did a solid job of stifling the Bears’ offense. Cal has been using its youthful spirit and gearing it towards a more attack-oriented style of play with high pressure and intensity.

With less than two minutes rolling on the clock after halftime, the Huskies managed to get on the scoreboard again. Diouf was brought down by the onrushing Gogatz and referee Jeremy Schroeder called the penalty spot. Diouf coolly chipped the ball home in the top-left corner for his second goal of the night.

But UConn wasn’t done with its damage. Despite Munoz cutting Cal’s deficit in half, Tony Cascio came back with his squad’s third goal. And it was another penalty kick that Diouf put away to end the score at 4-1. This time the forward was fouled by a Cal defender and Diouf picked the same left side to slot the ball in.

Penalty kicks are always a controversial matter and two in one game really sparked the tempers of the Bears. Cal was frustrated throughout large spells of the match, unable to maintain strong possession.

“We got unlucky with both those calls,” Salciccia said. “We’re just going to train hard this week and keep pushing on with our season.”

After a tough weekend away, the Bears’ travels are on hold as they host the Cal Legacy Classic. With Berkeley’s weather projected to be clear and sunny, Friday’s game at home at Edwards Stadium should be one the Bears are looking forward to.