DURHAM, N.C. – California nearly pulled off the upset at No. 7 Duke Friday night, but the Blue Devils were able to score the game-winner with six minutes remaining in double-overtime to take the 2-1 win at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium.
The Bears jumped ahead early in the second half with a goal from sophomore defender Clara Goni before Duke equalized late in the game to force overtime. After neither team was able to score in the first 15-minute overtime period, the game seemed to be headed for a penalty stroke shootout, but the Blue Devils tallied the game-winner minutes before the end of the game.
“That was really a complete game that we put together really well,” California head coach Shellie Onstead said. “We’re only going to get better and stronger. We just have to hang in there and keep believing.”
Goni scored her first career goal in the 43rd minute on what was Cal’s first shot of the day courtesy of a penalty corner. Shannon Elmitt, who missed last Sunday’s game against Pacific due to injury, took the penalty corner, and Goni, who also missed last Sunday’s game due to a leg injury, scored off the feed from Jordan O’Reilly to put the Bears ahead 1-0.
The Blue Devils evened the score in the 60th minute with a goal by McKay Ross who finished the rebound from Aileen Johnson’s shot. Duke would eventually score the game-winner in the 94th minute of double-overtime with a shot by Cherry Seaborn from 10 yards out with just six minutes remaining before a penalty stroke shootout would have decided the winner.
“That was a really good example of Jordan making a good decision and Clara being in the place she’s supposed to be and finishing,” Onstead said of Goni’s goal. “That was awesome and it gave us a lot of adrenaline. One of our chronic issues this season was playing a poor second half, so I talked about that at halftime and said lets not be that team on this day, and I think that they (rose to the challenge). Duke brought pressure and ultimately wore us down, but I don’t think we played worse in the second half like we have. Unfortunately Duke came down and got a tying goal.”
The overtime game was the fourth of the season for Cal, and all four overtime periods have come in Friday night games. The Bears opened the season with a 2-1 double-overtime win against Michigan State (shootout), took a 2-1 overtime loss at No. 12 Northwestern and defeated Pacific 2-1 with a double-overtime win (shootout).
California goalkeeper Courtney Hendrickson matched her career high with 12 saves. All three of her career 12-save matches came against ranked opponents in road games this season with Hendrickson saving 12 at No. 12 Northwestern and at No. 8 Stanford before Friday night’s 12 saves at No. 7 Duke.
“She’s one of those competitors that she gets up for any game,” Onstead said of Hendrickson. “Big save games come because there is one circle penetration (from the offense), but they get two or three shots out of it, so the quality of the saves are remarkable because they’re in rapid fire situations. Courtney really thrives in those moments because she has a great reaction time.”
Cal takes on No. 3 North Carolina Sunday at 10 a.m. (PT). The Tar Heels (8-1, 1-1 ACC) face Maryland Saturday night before taking on the Golden Bears.