The last time the Cal women’s soccer team went undefeated in its first three games was five years ago. In 2014, the Bears went six games before recording their first loss of the season against Texas Tech, which was ranked No. 7 at the time.
This season’s team is now two wins closer to matching that streak as they notched their second and third straight victory of the season against UC Santa Barbara and San Diego State this weekend.
First up was UC Santa Barbara, a team that the Bears suffered a frustrating overtime loss to last season. Although scoreless at the half, two goals from the Bears in the second half propelled them to a 2-0 victory as they handed the Gauchos the first loss of their season with their second straight shutout.
Sophomore Denae Antoine and junior Emma Westin both recorded their second goal of the season off of strong assists from sophomore Paige Metayer and senior Abi Kim. Antoine’s goal in the 48th minute marked the second goal of her career, and Metayer notched the first assist of her career as well. Both of Westin’s goals so far this season had been assisted by Kim, including this one which sealed the game in the 63rd minute.
Still, the Bears had little work to do on defense, as they dominated the Gauchos in shots on goal 7-1, despite recording three less corner kicks 5-2.
The second game in the Bears’ Southern California road trip was against San Diego State. In a game that mirrored the matchup against the Gauchos, both teams were held scoreless in the first half. Both teams had opportunities early on, but neither was able to capitalize due to big saves on both sides from former Bear and current Aztec goalie Brooke Lisowski and junior centerback Emily Smith.
Once again, the Bears picked up the tempo in the second half, and despite Lisowski saving four shots on goal, the Bears toppled the Aztecs in convincing fashion 2-0, recording their third straight shutout to open the season.
Metayer scored the first goal of the game in the 56th minute off of a corner kick, making this her third straight game with a point, and Westin scored again in the 82nd minute, having scored in each of the Bears’ three games so far this season. Once again, the Bears weren’t challenged on defense, winning the shots battle 24-2 and shots on goal 6-0.
Recording their first two road wins of the season, the Bears have shown some definite improvement from last season. Returning to Northern California this week, these two dominant road victories are undoubtedly confidence boosts as the Bears hope to keep this hot streak going.
This weekend, back at Edwards Stadium, they hope to pick up where they left off with games against San Diego on Friday and Montana on Sunday.
Akshara Majjiga covers women’s soccer. Contact her at [email protected].