Last time out at Goldman Field, freshman midfielder Mia Corbin burst onto the scene as she scored two goals in No. 17 Cal women’s soccer’s 3-0 win over Oregon State. Corbin’s performance was rewarded Thursday as she started over senior Alexa Vandevanter to provide Cal an offensive impetus against Washington.
Head coach Neil McGuire’s selection paid off as Cal beat the Huskies, 4-1.The match started on an attacking note, as both teams looked to score an early goal. Cal plundered Washington’s defense, recording three shots in the opening 10 minutes.
Fourteen minutes in and it was the Huskies who struck first, and what a goal it was. Shannon Simon unleashed a blockbuster of a shot from 35 yards out, and the ball sailed into the top-left corner. Cal goalie Emily Boyd made a great effort to save the shot, but she was unable to do so. An outrageous effort, an outrageous goal.
“We had scouted them and knew they had exceptional long range shooters,” McGuire said. “The goal that she scored, you just have to tip your hat off to her. Happy for her that she scored the goal, obviously disappointed that we conceded one.”
The Bears responded in a flash, however, as 30 seconds later, winger Ifeoma Onumonu put the ball in the net to score her fifth goal of the season. The goal allowed Cal to start exerting pressure on Washington. The Huskies, however, were unfazed as they continued to press high and not allow the Cal players too much time on the ball. They crowded Cal’s defense on the right and attempted to create something, but Indigo Gibson and Lynsey Hromatko stood strong like brick walls.
Onumonu scored again, to give Cal the lead in the 27th minute. Forward Arielle Ship held the ball in the center and sent in a long grounded ball for Onumonu, who produced a crisp finish to beat Sarah Shimer. This was Ship’s fourth assist in two matches.
“I was very happy with our response to their goal,” McGuire said. “Two goals in quick succession helped us to turn the momentum of the match.”
Cal scored its third in the 74th minute. Substitute Kayla Fong passed the ball to Ship, who tried to shimmy off her marker. Ship was unsuccessful in getting past the defender, but the latter’s pass back to the goalkeeper was weak, and Ship slid in to score her fifth goal of the season.
Ship then scored her second of the game and Cal’s fourth in the 90th minute. Gibson got the ball in her own half and then embarked on a dazzling run, lofting the ball for Ship, who controlled it on her chest and lobbed it over the rushing Shimer.
“Well, I actually was trying to side-volley it and mishit it but it went in anyways,” Ship said. “I knew I had to get a quick shot in considering the keeper was rushing, as she had been throughout the game. A bit of luck helped me, I guess.”
Cal, in spite of a jittery start to the game, was able to take control of the match. Emma Fletcher, who generally plays an advanced role, was the main orchestrator for Cal from the midfield. Her long and accurate passing allowed Cal to stretch the field of play, and tire out Washington.
“The Pac-12, every game is challenging,” McGuire said. “We had a great performance today but Sunday will be tough. Todd Shulenberger is a great coach and he’s got a great team this year. They play a style that is different from Washington’s and it will be a system-to-system matchup, which is always tough.”