No. 14 Cal men’s soccer drops tight match to No. 17 Pacific, 2-1

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Losses, Tigers and Bears in the same sentence? For No. 14 Cal men’s soccer, that wasn’t a good thing Friday, as the Bears fell to the No. 17 Tigers from the University of the Pacific 2-1 in overtime.

Cal opened strong with the first shot on goal in the 14th minute by freshman midfielder Taylor Davila, forcing Pacific sophomore goalkeeper Ethan Bandre to make a diving save.

But the Bears were unable to generate many more opportunities through the rest of the half, as Pacific forward Jonathan Jimenez and midfielder Jose Sosa fired off three shots compared to Cal’s one in the next seven minutes.

After a pass by Sosa and the ensuing shot by senior midfielder No. 10 Alfredo Alcala, the Tigers found themselves leading 1-0 in the 22nd minute.

An opportunity presented itself for the Bears during junior forward Javier Macias’ 33rd-minute corner kick to Shinya Kadono, but the shot was blocked by a Tiger defenseman.

Cal substitutes senior midfielder Halil Beqaj, sophomore forward Tommy Williamson and freshman forward Jonathan Estrada and Pacific substitute freshman forward Mamoru Kamisasanuki couldn’t shake things up, and the score remained 1-0 Tigers, with both teams having taken five shots each.

Coming out of the half, Davila and senior defender Sam Junqua each launched a wide shot within the first six minutes, with sophomore midfielder Francisco Perez hitting the target in the 54th minute, forcing Bandre to make another save.

Demonstrating the second-half Cal domination, senior forward Sam Ebstein launched a shot from the right side, tying the game at 1-1 in the 69th minute, finally breaking through Bandre’s wall.

Cal couldn’t come out on top after a 72nd-minute corner kick attempt by Perez, and the Bears and the Tigers traded shots for the rest of the half.

The Bears’ goalie, junior Drake Callender, who was named to the Preseason All-Pac-12 Team, displayed his worth by making a diving save against Pacific’s senior defender Bob Groenendijk in the 89th minute as both teams moved into overtime.

Within the first two minutes of overtime, the Bears couldn’t find the touches, as Junqua fired a shot high while Ebstein hit his opportunity wide.

Groenendijk countered with a shot in the 97th minute, blocked by a Bear defense for a Tiger corner. Freshman midfielder No. 3 Ryan Her took the first corner, blocked again by Cal for a second corner.

On the ensuing corner, the ball found the head of senior midfielder Camden Riley, who sent Cal into the loss column for the first time all season.

The Bears will look to reverse course Thursday when they take on Sac State at Avaya Stadium, the home of MLS’ San Jose Earthquakes.

Alicia Sadowski covers men’s soccer. Contact her at [email protected].