The only thing that shone brighter than the blistering afternoon sun during Sunday’s matchup between No. 9 Cal and Cal Poly was the defensive effort shown by both teams. At the end of the double-overtime contest, neither the Bears nor the Mustangs were able to capitalize and break the 0-0 stalemate.
For the Bears (6-1-2), Sunday’s tie came as a disappointment after recording their sixth straight win Friday at San Francisco. It was a slow start, as the only shot on goal for Cal came in the 37th minute from junior forward Arielle Ship. The shot was promptly blocked by Cal Poly’s senior goalkeeper Alyssa Giannetti.
While the Mustangs (4-2-3) were keeping the shut out intact, they were not faring any better against the stout Cal defense. Cal Poly, which was coming off a three-game win streak, was only able to make only four shots during the first half. Its best chance of scoring came late in the first half from senior forward Sara Epps, but the opportunity was quickly stripped away at the hands of Cal’s sophomore goalkeeper Emily Boyd.
At the end of the first half, both teams were able to escape from the high-90s heat into their respective locker rooms, locked in a scoreless tie.
The Bears were still not able to shake off their offensive funk and remained scoreless after the break. Although Cal was able to shoot seven times and have five corner kicks in the second half, its forwards had yet to gain the edge on Giannetti.
Even though it had yet to score on the tough Mustang defense, the Cal offense still managed a better performance than Cal Poly during the second half. Boyd remained unchallenged for the entirety of the second half, as the Mustangs were unable to make any shots on goal. In addition, all five shots put together by the Cal Poly offense either were blocked by Cal defenders or missed the goal entirely.
With the score still 0-0 at the end of regulation, the contest headed into overtime, and both teams’ defenses continued to steal the show. Boyd made two crucial saves for Cal during double overtime, spoiling both a shot and a well-placed header by Cal Poly freshman forward Caitlyn Kreutz.
For Cal, its best opportunity to score also came during the second overtime. The opportunity was not taken away by the Mustang defense, however, but by a slight miscalculation. In the 102nd minute, sophomore defender Indigo Gibson’s shot, which would have won the game, was deflected by the crossbar, allowing the clock to run and the game to end in a draw.
“We are very disappointed with this result,” said Cal head coach Neil McGuire to Cal Athletics. “We dominated in every category except scoring, but we needed to be sharper in front of (the) goal.”
Despite tying a game in which there were several opportunities to walk away with the win, the Bears still have yet to break their eight-game unbeaten streak and look to keep it going into next week’s road trip to Colorado.
Chris Tril covers women’s soccer. Contact him at [email protected].