With Golden Bear Orientation already in full swing, the Cal women’s soccer team made one thing clear on Thursday — it needed no reintroduction to the familiar grounds of Edwards Stadium. The Bears ran circles around Weber State in a 5-0 drubbing on Thursday.
“We came out super pumped,” said midfielder Luca Deza. “With the score today, you can tell that we were a bit excited — we gave it our all.”
Deza netted twice in eye-catching fashion as the Bears dominated possession from kickoff to the final whistle. Cal nearly had a breakthrough in the second minute when Paige Metayer’s threaded pass to Emma Westin gave the Swede daylight in the box. Westin’s shot was blocked as two Weber State defenders cut off her angle, but Cal would continue to chip away at the Wildcats’ defensive resolve as the match wore on.
Nine minutes later, All-Pac-12 forward Abi Kim outpaced her mark on the right wing, fizzing in a dangerous cross that was untidily cleared by Weber State. The resulting loose ball fell kindly for junior Daisy Cleverley, who passed it on to Deza. Deza then let loose a powerful drive from just outside the box, giving Wildcat keeper Nikki Pittman no chance as the ball rocketed into the top right corner.
From there, the Bears would pile it on in style. Westin received a high boot from Weber State’s Madison Carter but got her just deserts two minutes later as she turned in another well-placed Kim cross. In the 20th minute, the lightest of touches from Mia Corbin put Metayer one-on-one with the keeper, who then slotted the ball home with ease to push Cal’s lead to 3. After redshirt sophomore Denae Antoine scored her first Cal goal with a penalty kick in the 30th minute, the Bears were up by four goals at the half.
When the second half started, Deza showed off her range once again. Eclipsing her own effort in the first half, she struck down a missile from well outside the penalty area, catching Pittman out and scoring Cal’s fifth goal — already more than the team’s previous total from any game last season. When asked about her brace, Deza praised her suppliers.
“Honestly, I have to give all the credit to my teammates today,” Deza said. “We came out extremely hard, (were) very well prepared, (and) we had a great preseason. I’m just really lucky the ball went my way today.”
Deza’s eye-catching goals were noticed by coach Neil McGuire, who commended her execution.
“Luca’s an exceptional talent,” McGuire said after the match. “We’ve always felt like if we could get her to pick the ball up in certain areas face forward, she could either make assists or goals — and today, she got some great goals.”
Cal will head south to take on UC Santa Barbara on Aug. 30. The Gauchos drew with Minnesota Thursday night and will be an in-state test for the Bears, who will look to iron out any faults in their game today — UC Santa Barbara will be far less forgiving.
“We’ll take the game film, try and improve, and we’re looking forward to next week,” McGuire said.
If all goes according to plan, the Bears will pick up their offensive onslaught right where they left off.
Chanun Ong covers women’s soccer. Contact him at [email protected].