Cal men’s soccer falls 3-0 to Washington on road, game under protest

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Maya Valluru/File

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Anyone who says that #Pac12AfterDark only applies to football was clearly not watching Cal men’s soccer (9-5-0, 4-3-0) at Washington on Sunday evening. What looked to be a very close match through 76 minutes quickly unraveled after the sun went down, as the Bears fell 3-0 on 3 late second-half goals.

The first half was physical, with both teams playing aggressively and demonstrating a high level of offensive creativity. The Bears had one notable opportunity late in the period but would ultimately head back to the locker room scoreless.

Sophomore goalie Drake Callender had his work cut out for him in the first half, as Washington took a whopping 11 shots to Cal’s three. Callender currently leads the Pac-12 in saves, averaging 4.15 per game.

Callender was tested again immediately in the second half as Washington standout sophomore midfielder Handwalla Bwana, among the top three in the Pac-12 in shots, points, goals and assists, took a free kick that Callender tipped away by the skin of his teeth.

The game would remain scoreless for almost the entirety of the second half, as Cal took a respectable 12 shots (compared to a lackluster three in the first half) but still came up empty-handed. Finally, in the 76th minute, Washington junior forward Kyle Coffee scored the game’s first goal as Callender tipped a ball from the left side of the box. Coffee made contact on a header and put it in the top corner of the net while Callender was still on the ground.

Three minutes later, Washington sophomore midfielder Ryan DeGroot notched his first goal of the season on a corner kick that drew Callender way out of the box. Coffee put the nail in the coffin when he scored just four minutes after that on a cross. By then, the Huskies were up 3-0 with just seven minutes left to play, which afforded the Bears almost no chance to respond.

The tables were turned on the Bears in this game, who in their last meeting with Washington notched an upset on a dramatic free kick goal by senior midfielder Jose Carrera-Garcia, following a drawn-out tie.

Despite a seemingly decisive win for the Huskies, the game was under protest as of Sunday night. Cal head coach Kevin Grimes declined to comment on the nature of the dispute, but he did appear to be in an agitated conversation with the officials after Washington’s third goal.

The result of the protest becomes important in the Pac-12 picture, as Washington gained some ground on Cal following the three-goal performance. The Bears sit in second place in the conference with 12 points to the Huskies’ 10.

For the Bears, the oddities of #Pac12AfterDark continued even after the game had ended, with questions remaining regarding the outcome. Whether Cal really did fall at the hands of Washington, whom they upset just a week ago, or get a 3-0 loss turned to a win by way of protest, there’s no doubt that the result will be an unprecedented one for Cal.

Adriana Ghiozzi covers men’s soccer. Contact her at [email protected].

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