Over the weekend, Cal women’s soccer graced the pitch for the first time in months. The team arrived in Corvallis, Oregon, on Friday, looking to make up for lost time, and the Bears did just that, going 2-0 in their opening pair of matches.
The blue and gold won their first game against Oregon State by a score of 3-1, with their three goals coming from a stunning penalty kick from senior Emma Westin, an early second half score from junior Paige Metayer and a 79th minute shot from freshman Anysa Gray. Although the first half was riddled with fouls, and the Beavers showing no signs of slowing down, the Bears’ defense hung tough and rendered the six-yard goalkeeper box impenetrable.
The No. 1 recruiting class in the nation was on glorious display as the blue and gold dominated the home team. While miscues on both sides may have been expected due to the long, COVID-19 induced break from competition, the Bears already appeared to be in midseason form.
“We are really pleased for the players as they played an excellent game tonight, especially after such a long layoff,” said head coach Neil McGuire. “We must credit Oregon State as they gave us a great match. We look forward to our game versus Oregon on Sunday.”
Cal continued its move up the Pac-12 standings as it defeated Oregon by a final score of 1-0. Although the stands were noticeably lacking the elation that radiates from them during a typical home game, the Bears had no problem celebrating another win when they added a victory over the Oregon Ducks to their early-season list of achievements. Again, it was Westin who came through for the Bears, scoring in the 70th minute with what ended up being the game-winning goal.
Although Westin has begun this season with outstanding goals in both games, she remains diligent in her efforts and unsatisfied by the team’s early success.
“There will always be things we can improve on,” Westin said. “But overall we’re very pleased with how this weekend turned out.”
In addition to the stunning performance brought on by the offensive forwards, the defensive line was, without a doubt, a highlight of the two games in Oregon. In 2019, the Bears managed to put together 10 shutouts. The starting rotation for the defensive line was so well assembled that the coaches had a hard time entertaining the idea of substitutions as defenders Sydney Collins and Maya Evans played through the entire match.
As the season continues and Cal’s ever-strengthening defensive line grows only stronger, the Bears will be prepared for their first home game of 2021, a showdown against the Colorado Buffaloes on Friday.
Maria Khan covers women’s soccer. Contact her at [email protected]