3rd time is not the charm: Cal suffers losses to SDSU, UCLA

Photo of Cal men's soccer against UCLA
Lisi Ludwig/Senior Staff

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You may be familiar with the old adage “the third time’s the charm.” The phrase has been used for centuries and refers to the idea that if you don’t succeed the first or second time you try, the third time will surely be a success.

This concept that the third time you attempt something, you’ll come out on top is reassuring –– especially when the goal you want to accomplish matters a lot to you. One loss is hard, but two losses are even harder. For some, three losses can be too painful to bear.

Unfortunately for the Cal men’s soccer team, the three-game losing streak did not adhere to the idea that the third time must be the charm. The Bears’ third straight loss was not charming; In fact, it was quite the opposite. The first and second losses coming off of a 4-3 victory against UNLV were far from charming as well.

On Sept. 16 and 19, the blue and gold faced off against No. 21-ranked SDSU and No. 2-ranked UCLA, respectively.

The former game was played in San Diego, with the calming Pacific Ocean waves providing the perfect backdrop for a disappointing loss. Even though the Bears were unable to claim victory over their opponent, at least the nearby beach could provide them some solace.

Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Collin Travasos totaled three saves for the Bears in his first start of the season, while freshman forward Shoei Honda notched a team-high three shots. Though impressive, these player highlights were not quite enough to overcome the Aztecs on their home turf.

SDSU midfielder Andre Ochoa scored two goals for the Aztecs, in both the fourth and 65th minute of the game. Cal was unable to convert on any of its shot attempts and walked away with a 2-0 loss. Three days later, the Bears were ready to run it back in a city a little more than 100 miles north of San Diego: Westwood

On the fateful night of Sept. 19, a loss to UCLA sealed the Bears’ third loss in a row and proved the popular adage wrong. The glimmer and shine coming off of the Hollywood Hills was not enough to motivate Cal to bring home a win.

In a 2-1 defeat, the blue and gold solidified an overall record of 2-4-1 on the season. During the 21st minute, Bruins midfielder Tucker Lepley notched the first goal of the game. Two minutes later, Cal sophomore forward Wyatt Meyer narrowly missed a shot on target. Following another UCLA goal in the 40th minute by defender Tommy Silva, Cal sophomore Evan Davila assisted Honda in converting a first-time shot right before the halftime whistle sounded.

Thereafter, though, there would be no more goals scored, sending the Bears back to the Bay Area empty-handed.

Regardless of whether a victory comes the first, second, third or even fourth time, there is little reason for the blue and gold to lose hope. With a strong foundation and talented players, all it takes for the Bears to rise to the challenge of claiming victory over the 2021 season is continued hard work, determination and a little bit of polish.

The proverbial “third time’s the charm” will hopefully be rewritten to “fourth time’s the charm” Sept. 24 against LMU. If you don’t succeed at first, try again. And if you don’t succeed the second or third time, there’s always another chance for redemption just around the corner.

Mia Horne is the sports editor. Contact her at [email protected].