The great California collapse: Cal falls to UCLA, USC

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NorCal vs. SoCal is a rivalry as old as California itself. As it turns out, NorCal collegiate women’s soccer — at least as represented by Cal — has nothing on the SoCal giants, USC and No. 4 UCLA. The Bears left Los Angeles winless this weekend after games against the Bruins and the Trojans. The two matches marked Cal’s first meetings with both Southern California heavyweights this year.

The Bruins eked out a 3-1 victory over the Bears this past Friday to start the weekend. Cal probably felt that it was in with a shot against UCLA after the Bruins’ loss against Arizona State, a team the Bears defeated previously in late March.

UCLA sits in first place in the Pac-12 and has recorded seven shutouts this season, so scoring against the Bruins was always going to be a challenge. Unsurprisingly, Cal’s only goal came in the 77th minute, from a desperate play to deny the Bruins another shutout. UCLA came out swinging, scoring a goal in the fourth minute. The Bears desperately tried to equalize by playing a more offensive style, yet it was not enough as Bruins forward Mia Fishel scored right before the half. UCLA then crushed the possibility of a Cal victory as Reilyn Turner scored in the 72nd minute.

The Bears, agitated and disappointed, found their footing too late as sophomore forward Keely Roy scored her 3rd goal of the season with 13 minutes to play. Cal was denied any clear opportunity for a rebound against UCLA’s strong defending. The team seemed to fall short in the attacking third each time it found themselves there.

Looking to rebound after Friday’s loss, the Bears played the Trojans on Sunday. The last time Cal faced USC, the Bears won 3-0, thanks to two goals from Paige Metayer and Emma Westin. While those two players graced the field again this time around, Cal failed to score in a 5-0 walloping.

The Trojans, much like the Bruins, came out swinging. Sophomore midfielder Croix Bethune scored USC’s first goal in the sixth minute, which would be her first in an eventual hat trick. In the 11th minute, Bethune added another goal, as she sent a shot right past goalkeeper Angelina Anderson. In the 13th minute, Penelope Hocking added another goal to put USC up 3-0. The Trojans scored their fourth and fifth goals of the game in the second half.

The Bears will finish off their season with their Senior Day game against rival Stanford this Friday at Witter Rugby Field. The blue and gold will be desperate to make a comeback and send their veteran players off with a big win over its rivals.

Maria Khan covers women’s soccer. Contact her at [email protected].