A beautiful run up the left side of the field and a laser cross into the box found a sliding Connor Hallisey in perfect position at the far post to put away the easy goal.
John Fitzpatrick’s precision dribbling and vision to set up the play that gave the Cal men’s soccer team a 1-0 lead a little after 20 minutes into Friday afternoon’s contest at Edwards Stadium.
Unfortunately for the Bears, this was the last moment any Cal team member or fan would care to recall. The Bears went on to allow three unanswered goals in a 4-2 loss to Santa Clara, which concluded the Bay Area Classic, a regional derby that also featured USF and Stanford.
The defeat marks Cal’s first-ever loss in the Classic, which began in 2009.
Led by its tactful forward Erik Hurtado, the Santa Clara offense had an undeniable edge in experience as the Broncos led an attack primarily based on taking advantage of the young Bears’ defensive mishaps.
Santa Clara (4-1-1) scored twice in the 10 minutes before the half to take a 2-1 lead.
Although one would imagine an offensive resurgence after a disappointing conclusion to the half, the break did nothing to invigorate the Bears’ energy. Santa Clara demonstrated superior concentration in scoring their third goal of the match just three minutes into the second half.
A goal by Fitzpatrick on an assist from freshman Seth Casiple in the 69th minute gave Cal (2-2-2) a glimmer of hope as it pulled the squad within one, but any practical chances for a comeback were squandered when the Broncos’ freshman Glenn Vass took advantage of another Cal mistake to increase the score to 4-2 in the 83rd minute.
Although Cal allowed four goals, which equaled the highest output this year for an opposing side, coach Kevin Grimes was quick to divert the blame from the defense specifically.
“The defense wasn’t the problem in this match,” Grimes said. “Our problem is the lineup. Significant lineup changes need to be made.”
One player that will not be scribbled onto Grimes’ next lineup card is Christian Dean. The freshman was handed a red card in the 75th minute after a hard sliding challenge. Although this particular challenge was only given a yellow card, Dean had acquired another yellow card previously in the match, granting him early access to the locker room and a suspension for the upcoming game.
Dean wasn’t the only one misbehaving, however; the match was especially chippy, featuring 9 yellow cards and 37 fouls, including 4 yellow cards in the last 15 minutes alone.
The silver lining on this cloud of a match was freshman midfielder Connor Hallisey. In addition to his goal, Hallisey also had a nifty run down the left side that led to a near-goal opportunity.
“It felt good,” Hallisey said. “Being a freshman and just cracking the starting lineup, it was nice to play well and have this kind of performance.”