This season, the No. 20 Cal women’s soccer team has proven that the possibilities of a unit are endless if its members fully believe in one another. The historic season only continued last weekend, as the Bears defeated USF, 4-1, to solidify their fifth straight home win of the season.
This weekend, Oregon State will enter Edwards Stadium on the wrong side of history, as it’ll be looking to win its first-ever away match against Cal. The Bears have historically dominated the Beavers since 1989, holding a winning record of 21-4-1, never allowing a loss at home.
But despite this, the Beavers will be a tough test for the Bears, as they have talent spread throughout the entire field. Junior Nikki Faris will look to lead her team to a historic win, just like Sunday against San Diego when she led her team to a 2-1 overtime victory.
Oregon State entered the final 22 minutes down 1-0, but the Beavers didn’t allow this fact to fluster them.
The much-needed comeback began in the 75th minute, when junior Natalie Higgins tied the game by scoring a left-footed shot past San Diego goalie Amber Michel. This came off an assist from Faris, who eventually obtained her team’s fifth win of the season by scoring a golden goal in the 98th minute. That secured the Beavers’ second overtime victory of the season, with the last overtime win coming Sept. 9 against Michigan State.
But upsetting the Bears is easier said than done, as they’ve displayed tons of team chemistry in their last few games. This was on display last week when they scored four goals against local rival San Francisco, continuing their home undefeated streak. Senior forward Arielle Ship had one of the best games of her career, finishing the day with two goals, one short of a hat trick.
Ship got Cal off to a great start early in the 30th minute, scoring the first goal of the day off a deflected shot from junior teammate Heather Walleigh. And it didn’t take long for her to strike again, scoring in the 53rd minute after showing brilliant ball handling skills.
Freshman Abigail Kim followed suit just one minute later, not allowing her inexperience to be a hinderance by scoring Cal’s third goal of the day.
And that was far from the end, as Cal put one more nail in the coffin, scoring once more to surpass USF 4-1. Freshman newcomer Maggie Bell followed Kim’s lead, scoring her first-ever career goal in the 66th minute off a shooting rebound from senior Emma Fletcher.
The Bears will have no trouble getting past the Beavers this weekend and continuing their home streak, if they can once again play as a team. And the season possibilities are limitless if they can continue this team chemistry through Pac-12 competition.
“Every game in the Pac-12 is difficult no matter who you play, and we have to treat them with respect because they’re capable of beating us,” said Cal head coach Neil McGuire. “So we’ll prepare hard, be as organized as we can and hope that we can get a victory.”
Alex Quintana covers women’s soccer. Contact him at [email protected].