The Cal men’s soccer team went through a painful learning experience this past weekend on the road, where the team was dominated by a pair of non-conference opponents. On Friday the Bears lost, 2-1, to Virginia before suffering a 6-0 blowout at No. 6 Maryland.
Cal played like a top-25 team for three quarters of the weekend. The team outshot the Cavs 7-6 but kept the score at 0-0. While the Bears lost the game to the Cavaliers, they were the dominant squad across all offensive statistics for 90 minutes, outshooting Virginia 17-10. Cal also stood tall against the Terrapins in the first half, only allowing 1 goal before halftime.
Virginia scored 66 seconds into the second half on a Ryan Zinkhan strike inside the box. Cal tied the game 10 minutes later as sophomore striker Stefano Bomono put in the first goal of his Cal career.
The Bears were on the offensive for the rest of the game, continuously attacking the Cavs defense but was unable to net a goal. In the 83rd minute, Virginia’s Zach Carroll scored in a header off of a corner to win the game for Virginia.
“We played an outstanding team (Friday) in Virginia,” Cal head coach Kevin Grimes said in a postgame interview. “For us to have as many quality chances as we did and have a chance to win the game is a very good sign.”
In the first half, Maryland kicked off the scoring in the 36th minute on a total of eight shots to make it 1-0 to the Terrapins. Cal, on the other hand, took just two shots and couldn’t capitalize on either.
In the first half of the Maryland game, the Cal defense was constantly bombarded as the Terrapins took eight shots, finally allowing one goal to midfielder John Stertzer in the 36th minute. The Bears offense, meanwhile, remained silent, taking only two shots.
The second half brought more of the Maryland’s bombardments, but this time the Terrapin forwards actually began turning opportunities into goals. Four different Terrapins scored, including freshmen Schillo Tshuma and Tsubasa Endoh. Maryland took 12 more shots in the final 45 minutes of the match, outshooting the Bears 20-4 .
In the 78th minute, Grimes substituted starting goalkeeper Kevin Peach for junior Robby Gogatz to help stop the bleeding. Grimes’ plan was immediately foiled, as junior forward Jordan Cyrus scored two goals past Gogatz in just over a minute in the 79th minute.
Afterwards the game, all Grimes can do was lick his wounds and move past the blowout.
“Maryland was extremely good tonight in all phases of the game,” Cal head coach Kevin Grime said. “On games like this you have to tip your cap to the opponent. Throughout the totality of the weekend, we had some brilliant play to build upon.”
The Bears proved that they could keep up with one of the best squads in the nation — but only for a half. They kept the match within one goal for 45 minutes before conceding five more in a flurry of Maryland shots.