Alec Sundly netted his second golden goal of the season to give No. 1/2 California a 1-0 overtime win over Santa Clara on Friday on Goldman Field at Edwards Stadium. At the 99:08 mark, just 52 seconds from the end of the first OT period, junior midfielder Max Oldham drove a dangerous cross deep into the Broncos' box, and Sundly stuck the ball in the net.
“Max is a great one v. one player, and he did what he does best – getting people off their feet, getting people off balance,” Sundly said. “Max was in the 18, probably 13 or 14 yards out. I just read it, stayed onside, probably in the six, just for an easy tap in. Props to Max for putting the ball on target.”
Cal head coach Kevin Grimes also lauded the play of Oldham and the rest of the players who came off the bench today.
“Obviously Max had an unbelievable assist on the winning goal,” Grimes said, “and so I think all in all the guys really did a great job coming off the bench and giving us a spark, because we needed it. We feel like we have about 15 to 16 guys capable of starting on this team, so when we put in a sub off the bench, we feel like we’re inserting a level of player that’s no different than the starters that are out there.”
The Bears celebrated with Sundly, their senior midfielder and co-captain who also scored a golden goal to beat then-No. 2 Maryland, 3-2, in overtime on Goldman Field. His other goal this year was the gamewinner in Cal's 3-0 blanking of Colgate in Berkeley.
The first half was relatively even, with Cal outshooting the Broncos, 4-1, and taking a 5-4 advantage on corner kicks. Santa Clara actually recorded all four of its corners in succession over less than a two-minute span – from 27:40 to 29:13. After the fourth, the Broncos’ Phillip Muscarella took a shot, but a Cal player blocked it before it could get to goalkeeper Justin Taillole.
Taillole played all 99:08 in net but did not record a save, as Cal outshot the Broncos, 14-4, overall.
Kendall McIntosh did make five saves in all, including three in the second half, as the Bears came out with a purpose. Less than a minute in, at 45:52, senior midfielder Ryan Neil blasted a shot that McIntosh saved. Senior forward Luis Fuentes cracked a shot from 23 yards, with McIntosh again making the save. Oldham forced another save at 86:37.
With three seconds remaining in regulation, Christian Thierjung almost became the late-game hero again. Earlier this season, Cal’s freshman forward scored with 19 seconds left in another match against a local West Coast Conference opponent go give Cal a 1-0 win in a tight match at San Francisco. This time, he shot just over the Santa Clara crossbar, and the teams headed into overtime.
“They’re a very good team and not easy to break down,” Grimes said. “What it came down to (in the second half) was us being a little bit sharper in our passing and our combination play to get through them. But you have to give them credit also. They had a lot of good defensive moments and were able to thwart our attacks. It took longer than we would’ve hoped, but sometimes that’s going to happen when you’re playing good, quality teams.”
Cal was the aggressor again in overtime, taking two shots to none for the Broncos. A Fuentes shot forced a save and a Cal corner kick at 98:00.
The ball remained in the Broncos’ half, with Oldham getting the ball on the flank and, a little more than a minute later, setting up Sundly for his latest heroics.
The Bears return to action when they host Oregon State in their Pac-12 Conference opener on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 4 p.m. Cal then closes its five-game homestand when it battles fellow unbeaten and fifth-ranked Washington on Sunday, Oct. 6, at 11 a.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.