Cal women’s soccer has taken some minor turbulence throughout its conference season, suffering losses to major powerhouse teams such as the Pac-12 No. 1 rated UCLA, No. 18 USC and Arizona State. However, these losses have failed to keep the Bears down on the ground for too long — even if it looks like a lost cause. The blue and gold are back up and at ‘em in last week’s games against Oregon State and University of Oregon, winning against OSU, and tying with Oregon.
Cal played OSU on its field on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 20, and won the match elegantly with a 2-0. This was a complete shutout on behalf of Cal’s defensive team and consistent goalkeeper Angelina Anderson, marking Cal’s seventh shutout just this season. Anderson is now just behind first place in Cal’s ranking of career shutouts with 25 clean sheets total and 35 total saves.
Cal played the ball and OSU like toys, dominating possession and only allowing one shot in the first half and two in the second half, while Cal racked up 20 shots total. Passing on the glory, Ayo Oke free-kicked the ball to Skylar Briggs, who took her first goal of the season about 30 minutes in. Oke continued to maneuver the field and took on the second goal — which was also her first goal of the season — which rebounded off the goal post. There were some shots on goal from the OSU Beavers that looked close, but they could not score even throughout the second half.
The blue and gold then moved on from this victory to face the daunting Oregon ducks in Eugene the following Sunday. The Ducks are a notoriously defense-focused team, which was highlighted in the match with Oregon’s goalkeeper Leah Freeman. Freeman currently leads the Pac-12 in saves, with 102 total and a save percentage of 0.857.
Oregon started off strong and scored a goal in the first five minutes. Cal again pushed its offensive front, stealing 24 shots to Oregon’s five and 14 corner kicks to Oregon’s two. Freeman had a total of seven saves against Cal to prevent any goals in the majority of the game. The pressure started to settle in once it got close to the end of the second half, but the day was saved by Ayo Oke’s penalty and Keely Roy’s takeover. Roy, with her penalty kick, definitely proved herself worthy of her Top Drawer Soccer’s award for Women’s Team of the Week in the previous week, and was able to straight shoot the ball into the goal.
Cal now holds a conference standing of 4-3-1and an overall of 9-4-4, placing it at an outstanding No. 4 with 13 points in the Pac-12 division women’s soccer standings. No. 1 UCLA still stands at the top of both the NCAA and Pac-12 standings, while future opponent Stanford has moved up the chain to meet UCLA in points, sliding into the No. 2 position.
As the season comes to a close, the Bears are expected to finish with a bang. Stanford sits pretty as the last opponent of the conference season and at the No. 2 position in the Pac-12. With the Stanford Cardinal being the outstanding victor in the history of matches between the Bay Area rivals, the anticipation rises. Fans hope that Cal will be able to hold out until then and perhaps gain a shot at the championships.