Aug. 31, 2012
Score: No. 17 Cal 4, Cal Poly 1
Site: Alex G. Spanos Stadium - San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Records: Cal 3-2-0, Cal Poly 3-1-1
Top Cal Performers: Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick (1 G), Taylor Comeau (1 G, Gamewinner), Emi Lawson (1 G), Nina Pederson (1 G), Thelma Einarsdottir (2 A)
Next Game: Sunday vs. San Francisco (Noon in Berkeley)
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - After dropping two hard-fought, white-knuckle games last week, the No. 17 California women's soccer team returned to its top-notch form with a 4-1 win over Cal Poly on Friday evening. The Golden Bears (3-2-0) took a 1-0 advantage over the Mustangs (3-1-1) into the half at Cal Poly's Alex G. Spanos Stadium before exploding for three second-half goals to the Mustangs' one.
The Bears came into the nonconference meeting with the Mustangs with one goal in mind - to recover from two disappointing losses last week. Despite Cal limiting Santa Clara to a paltry three shots, the Bears dropped a 1-0 decision to the Broncos on Aug. 23. In their next outing - an Aug. 26 match-up with No. 13 Missouri - the Bears struck first but could not overcome a Tiger goal in the 76th and lost 3-2. The two losses fell by the wayside as soon as Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick struck in the 11th minute.
"It felt great to get my first goal of the season, especially to put our team up 1-0 after a rough past two games," Fitzpatrick said. "Our team really came together tonight and played with heart. It felt like we were all on the same page in the second half and wanted to put the game away. We kept fighting even though we were up. It was a great feeling."
Fitzpatrick scored 10:58 into the game from five yards out after Ifeoma Onumonu dished off a quick pass. The Bears held the 1-0 lead until three minutes into the second half, when Taylor Comeau scored her first goal of the season with Kory Lamet on the assist. As it was for Fitzpatrick, there was dual-pronged elation for Comeau on the goal and the authoritative victory.
"It was important to win this game in order to get back on track," Comeau said. "For my goal, I was just calm in the box, looked for the corner and it went in. I have been hungry for a goal so I was excited."
The Bears didn't wait 10 minutes before scoring again, this time with Emi Lawson heading the ball in off a Thelma Einarsdottir corner at 55:51. The stalwart defender Lawson played a definite role yet again for the Cal defense, which allowed seven Mustang shots.
It was déjà vu in the 65th minute when Einarsdottir stepped up to take another corner kick. Einarsdottir crossed the ball in, where it flicked off a couple of players before Nina Pederson got the final touch on the ball just in front of the goal.
Down 4-0, the Mustang offense kicked into high gear to avoid the shutout. With 11:30 remaining in regulation, Cici Kobisnki put the ball in the back left corner from 15 yards out for unassisted goal.
With the win in hand, the Bears turn their attention to their next opponent - Bay Area rival San Francisco - which makes the trip across the Bay Bridge for a noon match-up on Sunday at Edwards Stadium in Berkeley. That game will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks. The victory over Cal Poly puts the Bears in prime position to regain their footing on their home turf.
"It was a great feeling to start off the weekend with a win on the road," Lawson said. "I think we all feel that we have more in us and are looking forward to coming out strong on Sunday."
The Bears will put in a much-needed recovery and practice session back in Berkeley on Sunday.
"We are excited about our next challenge on Sunday versus San Francisco," Cal head coach Neil McGuire said. "We are pleased with both the result and the overall team performance. However, we must strive to play well for the entire 90 minutes."