No. 18 Cal women’s soccer looking to put painful loss behind them in match vs. ASU

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The last time the No.18 Cal women’s soccer team touched a soccer field, it allowed a golden goal in the final seconds of overtime and subsequently fell to Colorado. This goal instantly forced the Bears to their knees, realizing that this was their first home loss of the season.

Cal will have a chance to rebound this Thursday, when the team travels east to compete against Arizona State.

The Sun Devils should be far easier to beat than Colorado on paper, especially when considering that they’re entering this game off a four-game losing streak. In fact, the last time ASU even scored a goal was Oct. 9, eventually losing to Washington State, 1-2.

Still, the Sun Devils will have weapons placed throughout the entire field. Junior forward Jazmarie Mader leads Arizona State in goals with eight on the year. But despite this, she hasn’t scored in more than two weeks.

The Bears, on the other hand, will enter this game with an offense and defense that have imposed their will all year. Redshirt senior Ifeoma Onumonu currently leads her team with 10 goals, last scoring in the team’s loss against the Buffaloes. She found an opening in the 89th minute, shooting a clean goal from the front of the net after a co-assist by junior Indigo Gibson and senior Arielle Ship. In the end, though, it was Colorado freshman Taylor Kornieck that came through in the clutch.

She was able to cut through Cal’s tough defense, putting a perfect header on the ball to score in the final seconds of the game. This came off a perfect free kick from freshman Stephanie Zuniga, who placed the ball on target from more than 30 yards out.

This outcome was devastating for Cal, as it marked the end of a season-long undefeated streak that lasted nine games. The team had dominated all opponents that walked into Edwards Stadium, defeating eight teams and tying with one.

Unlike the Bears, the Sun Devils didn’t put up much of a fight the last time they were on the field. They allowed Oregon to score four times, as four different Ducks were able to break through ASU’s defense.

It’s imperative that the Bears get back on track this week with the playoffs around the corner, and everyone must show up for that to happen. This is especially true of Ship, who’s not only proven her offense prowess this year with eight goals but has done so unselfishly with six assists.

The defense will also look to rebound this week after giving up a tough goal in the last match. The heart of Cal’s defense is built on juniors Haley Lukas and Gibson, who have shut down numerous offensive plays this year. Before last game’s loss, the Bears defense had only allowed a remarkable 10 goals on the year. This places them as the second-best conference team in points allowed, just behind USC’s seven.

The Bears dropped eight spots in the rankings after losing to Colorado, and on Thursday they’ll need to defeat Arizona State to make up some of that ground.

Alex Quintana covers women’s soccer. Contact him at [email protected].