Cal men’s soccer beats No. 19 Washington

Maya Valluru/File

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It was not a good weekend to be an athlete from Washington in Berkeley. On Friday night, Cal football pulled off one of the biggest upsets in its recent history when it took down Heisman-hopeful quarterback Luke Falk and then-No. 8 Washington State in a 37-3 rout. The next day, Cal women’s soccer beat the Cougars 2-0. And as the cherry on top, Cal men’s soccer would pull off its own upset on Sunday, beating No. 19 Washington 2-1 in a bit more suspenseful fashion than the others.

Cal got on the board early against the Huskies, as junior midfielder Shinya Kadono recorded his sixth goal of the season on a header assisted by senior defender Ugo Rebecchini. Kadono, who had until this year scored just one goal in his college career, is currently leading the team in goals.

“We were talking about how we should start off the game really strong, being aggressive,” Kadono said. “And the first 10 minutes I think was when I scored the goal, and that’s when we were going really intense and that’s when their intensity kind of dropped and we scored. And that led to a good start, gave a nice rhythm to our game.”

The Bears have consistently found success this season when they are able to get ahead in the first half, and in the end, this game was no exception. The Huskies quickly responded, however, knocking in a goal just five minutes later. From there, it would remain 1-1 for nearly an hour’s worth of game play, with each team taking seven shots to no avail.

Finally, in the 77th minute, senior midfielder Jose Carrera-Garcia set up for a free kick following a foul on sophomore forward Simon Lekressner at the top of the box. Carrera-Garcia kicked a bullet just over the head of Washington’s goalie that hit the crossbar and fell in for a goal.

“Every great goalie has their weakness so you’ve just gotta find it,” Carrera-Garcia said. “And sometimes goalies can only do so much. … I knew I just had to put it out of his reach where the wall was in his way and I put a good pace on it so it was hard for him to get there.”

The two teams were toe-to-toe throughout the game, with each taking five shots on goal. It was Carrera-Garcia’s goal that ended up making all the difference, and sealed the upset for the Bears 2-1.

“I think it was one of those games where you needed three or four guys to step up huge and come up with some magic and I think we had that,” said Cal head coach Kevin Grimes. “I think you have to have that in a game where the difference is gonna be the razor’s edge between winning, tying or losing”.

The win against No. 19 Washington should be enough to help Cal, which had been receiving votes for the last few weeks, find its way into the top 25. In order to stay there, though, the Bears will have to get a win this Thursday night when they head north to face Oregon State.

The Bears met Oregon State at home just a week ago, scoring two goals in the second half to notch their fifth shutout victory of the season. In that game, Cal not only faced extremely poor air quality due to the Santa Rosa-area fires, but also overcame a strategic road bump as well.

The Beavers came out in a 3-5-2 formation instead of their usual 4-4-2, which forced the Bears to make adjustments at halftime. This time around, however, they will know what to expect.

“I think we’ll be ready for both formations that they may be playing in,” said Grimes. “I think the fact that we’ve played against it for an entire game obviously helps, and then if they’re back to their traditional system I think we’ve prepared for that already.”

The Bears are playing well on both sides of the ball, as Sunday’s game served to prove. So long as they can recover adequately from a very physical outing, they should be in great position to find success against Oregon State on Thursday.

Adriana Ghiozzi covers men’s soccer. Contact her at [email protected].