It is the end of the road for the Bears.
After finishing off the season strong and ranking 4th and placing three of their players on the all-conference second team the Bears headed to Santa Clara to take on the Broncos once more. Unfortunately for Cal their hopes of moving on to the second round of the NCAA tournament were spoiled by Santa Clara as the team fell 0-1 to the Broncos. Despite having competed against the Broncos during the regular season and taking them down 1-0, Santa Clara came in hot to claim revenge over the Bears.
This matchup marked the seventh time these opponents had faced off during the NCAA Championship. Santa Clara is now 21-24-8 all-time vs. Cal and 6-1-1 in the NCAA tournament.
Both teams fired shot after shot but the score remained frozen at a draw until the match ended after 108 long minutes of anticipation. Pac-12 star Izzy D’Aquila scored her 19th goal of the season in the final 30 seconds during the second overtime, seconds before the two teams went into penalty kicks. Her goal made her the seventh Bronco in history with 50 career goals. Additionally, D’Aquila led her team in shots with six total and at the end of the season was placed second in the country with a total of 18 goals.
The game was a slugfest from the very beginning as the Bears and the Broncos proved to be evenly matched, with 11 shots and four saves each at the end of the contest. Cal’s two top scorers of the season, Keely Roy and Karlie Lema, tallied five shots a piece while Mia Fontana shot the other for Cal.
Cal controlled possession of the ball right at the start of the first half outshooting Santa Clara 6-3. The Bears garnered their top scoring opportunities in the first half from attempts by Roy and Lema. In the 29th minute Broncos’ goalkeeper Marlee Nicolos stopped a shot that Roy had taken from the top of the box. Minutes later Lema came blasting through the Broncos’ defense to send the ball hurling through the left side of the box only to have Nicolos plunge towards the ball and save it.
It was Fontana’s turn to try to remedy the situation as she confined the ball in front of an open goal in the box but the Broncos reacted immediately and smacked the ball away along with Cal’s hopes of gaining the lead.
Both teams fought long and hard almost to the last second proving how evenly matched these two programs are. Alas in a moment of weakness the Broncos were able to get the upper hand over the Bears and terminate their season for good.
As another season comes to an end Cal says goodbye to the team’s graduating seniors including the creme of the crop goalkeeper, Angelina Anderson, the team’s leading scorer, Roy, team captain and defensive powerhouse, Sydney Collins, midfielder super star Paige Metayer, and many more essential Bears that will trade in their blue and gold jersey but whose impact will not be forgotten.
The Bears will now head into hibernation to come back next season with new cubs to maul their future opponents.