This was a chance for revenge. Or more importantly, it was the squad’s first win in the Pac-12.
After the Cal men’s soccer team tied Oregon State and lost to Washington at home last weekend, the Bears flew up north to play the same two opponents in foreign territory.
The first two encounters in Berkeley both ended in double overtime. But this weekend’s 2-1 loss to Oregon State and 1-0 loss to Washington each ended in the 90-minute regulation periods. And not the way the squad had hoped.
“Our morale isn’t the greatest right now,” senior Ted Jones said. “The boys played really hard, so we can’t be faulted for that.”
The Bears (3-7-4, 0-5-2 in the Pac-12) dictated the play for long spells in the Oregon State match on Friday. Cal outshot the Beavers, 10-2, and had a copious number of chances to put the game to rest, including junior co-captain Tony Salciccia’s header in the final 10 minutes of play.
“We definitely dominated that match, but we just couldn’t capitalize on our opportunities,” co-captain Steven Birnbaum said.
The second half featured three goals, one being Birnbaum’s first goal of the season off a penalty kick. But Oregon State scored in the 70th minute after surging into the box and finishing the ball past junior goalkeeper Robby Gogatz.
Letting in a late goal is apparently becoming an unfortunate trend for Cal.
On Sunday’s faceoff against Washington, coach Kevin Grimes made a lineup change and placed goalkeeper Kevin Peach back in the starting lineup in the net.
The sophomore made six saves, yet couldn’t manage to keep the Huskies off the scoreboard as they scored with around 15 minutes remaining.
“The Washington game was just unlucky,” Birnbaum said. “We got a tough break and a penalty call to basically take the game.”
The stats were a bit different for Sunday’s game in comparison to Friday’s. The Huskies blasted in 24 shots to the Bears’ nine.
“Referee decisions were just not going our way, as well as the ball not lucky bounces for us,” junior midfielder Alec Sundly said. “We just couldn’t put the ball in the net, frustrating.”
Cal heads home from another disappointing away weekend with only three games left in the Pac-12. The Bears remain dead last in the six team conference and have no wins. They couldn’t manage to score from open play in 180 minutes, as their only goal came from the penalty spot, which ironically enough, also lead to their demise on Sunday at Washington.
At this point, it seems that Cal’s priorities have shifted to a more long-term outlook.
“We just try to keep moving forward and look at the positives,” Birnbaum said. “In order to build a solid foundation for this team.”
One of those positives is that the remainder of the Bears’ games are at home at Edwards Stadium. Another positive to lift the spirits of the squad is its bye weekend next week.
“This bye is coming at a great time,” Sundly said.