Nov. 16, 2012
SAN DIEGO - California took an early lead on Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick's 12th minute goal but couldn't hold onto it, as second-seeded San Diego State scored two second-half goals - including the gamewinner in the 83rd minute - to end the Golden Bears' season, 2-1, in the NCAA Tournament's second round. Cal's record fell to 16-6-0 after the match at the SDSU Sports Deck, while the Aztecs improved to 21-1-1.
"You've got to credit San Diego State," Cal head coach Neil McGuire said. "They know how to play their field. We couldn't settle. They work very hard for what they do. They know their style, and they know their system, and it's very difficult to defend. They're very direct, and when the ball is bouncing as high as it is, we just didn't judge it well. Quite frankly, they were the better team in the second half, and more than likely deserved to win."
SDSU plays third-seeded UCLA on Sunday, Nov. 18, at noon in the NCAA third round at San Diego State. The Bruins routed Kentucky, 5-0, also on Friday night.
At the 6:13 mark of the first half, Cal almost scored when senior defender Samantha Walker fired a header on goal, but an Aztec defender made a glancing save off the goalline.
Cal did get on the scoreboard at the 11:10 mark. Freshman forward Ireoma Onumonu - the 2012 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year - crossed the ball into the penalty area, Fitzpatrick collected the ball just outside the six-yard box and the junior midfielder fired past Boaz to give Cal the 1-0 lead. The goal was the Fitzpatrick's fifth of the season.
"We felt like our game plan was good - we wanted to go and attack their wider areas," McGuire said, "because we felt like we could get around the corner on them and be dangerous with service whipped into the box. Obviously we scored our goal off of it, but then we stopped doing it. I think that we needed to do a better job of sticking to what we were good at. Our game all season long has been keeping the ball, but tonight we couldn't keep it, and that caused us problems. And as a result San Diego State was able to take advantage of that."
The Bears outshot San Diego State, 6-3, in the first half and forced Boaz into making two saves. Cal sophomore goalie Emily Kruger did not record a save in the first 45 minutes, when SDSU held a 4-3 corner-kick advantage.
At 52:29, forward Hannah Keane dribbled into the box and, after a small collision with defender Gennessee Daughetee, dribbled closer before firing a laser into the upper left-hand corner of the goal to tie the match at 1-1.
Keane had a hand in the winning goal, assisting Tiffany Hurst on a shot from 19 yards out that she deposited just inside the left post - past a diving Kruger - at 82:53.
Neither side recorded another shot, and the Bears' season ended in defeat.
The defeat ended the Cal careers of Walker, forward/midfielder Lauren Battung - who missed the match due to injury - defender Amanda Glass, midfielder Betsy Hassett - who took a game-high five shots - and goalkeeper Lauren Hein.
"It's real tough," McGuire said losing his senior class."Every one of them is an outstanding leader with outstanding character. They're great leaders of the team and are tremendous academically. You name it, they're good at it. It's a real loss. Unfortunately we didn't have Lauren Battung tonight because of an injury. Her career was cut short. It's a sad way to see the girls go out. But that's why we play the game. There's always going to be a winner and a loser, and tonight we just weren't on the right end of that."