Cal has continued to ride its undefeated streak through nine games, the best start since Cal went undefeated through 12 games in 2000. The Golden Bears lost to Washington 2-1 in game No. 13 of that season.
The Golden Bears have yet to allow an opponent to score in the first half.
SALT LAKE CITY – On a chilly Friday evening at Ute Field in Salt Lake City, the scoreboard remained frozen at zero as the No. 11/15-ranked Golden Bears opened Pac-12 play with a 0-0 draw in double overtime vs. Utah. Cal remains undefeated at 6-0-3 through nine games, including three ties in overtime, while Utah is 4-1-5.
“Tonight was a great Pac-12 battle between two very good teams. Credit goes to Utah as they play a great brand of soccer,” said Cal head coach Neil McGuire. “While we remain undefeated, we need to be able to close out tight games and tonight we couldn’t.”
The Utes have held four other opponents to a tie and have played stalwart defense throughout the season, including holding then-No. 6 BYU to one goal via a penalty kick in Cougar territory in Provo, Utah. That defense limited Cal to just three shots in the first half, but the Golden Bears matched the intensity on the backline by allowing the Utes only five shots of their own. At halftime, both goalies registered one save apiece, including a save at the 30-minute mark by Utah’s Lindsey Luke to halt charging senior Ariana Martinez (Moorpark, Calif.).
“We struggled to find our tempo early but got better as the game wore on,” McGuire said.
The Bears had a few solid chances in the second half as five shots sailed just-wide or just-high. Things looked promising at the 88 when sophomore Ifeoma Onumonu (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) nailed a ball straight at the goal, but it bounced off the crossbar. Meanwhile, Cal’s senior goalie Emily Kruger (Woodside, Calif.) recorded three saves to send the game into overtime.
The Cal defense shut out Utah through the first overtime period, while creating space for junior Taylor Comeau (Los Gatos, Calif.) to try her luck at the goal, but the shot was saved again by Luke. The stalemate continued into overtime No. 2. A pair of the Utes’ shots went wide and another went high, while Cal’s sole chance at the goal via freshman Arielle Ship (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) was blocked.
Cal will close out non-conference play Monday at Negoesco Stadium in San Francisco as the Golden Bears take on the San Francisco Dons at 7 p.m.
California 4 (Kruger, Emily 4), Utah 2 (Luke, Lindsey 2)