Nov. 18, 2008
The No. 9 California men's soccer team is riding a three-game winning streak heading into the NCAA College Cup. The Golden Bears (10-3-5, 5-2-3 Pac-10) will host San Francisco in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, Nov. 21, at 1:30 p.m. at Edwards Stadium. It will be the second time this season that these teams will meet.
In the Rankings
The Bears are currently ranked No. 9 in the Soccer Times, No. 11 in the College Soccer News NSCAA polls, and No. 12 in the Soccer America rankings.
Among conference leaders, Stefan Frei leads the Pac-10 in goals-against average (0.68) and shutouts with eight.
Cal, as a team, leads the conference in goals-against average (0.68), goals allowed (13), and shutouts with nine.
Earlier This Season Against USF
Cal and USF already met in 2008 on Sept. 26. Cal emerged with the 2-0 victory, scoring two late goals. It was an important win for the Bears, as they were coming off their first loss of the season and it was the final non-conference game of the year.
Sophomore Andrew Wiedeman scored the game-winning goal in the 71st minute. After a shot bounced off the crossbar, Wiedeman was able to tuck the rebound just underneath the crossbar. Almost four minutes later, Cal sealed the victory when it was able to force an own goal by USF.
Cal junior keeper Stefan Frei did not allow a goal by the Dons, making five saves en route to earning his third shutout of the campaign and the 14th of his career. Frei was tested by USF, as the Dons outshot the Bears, 12-9, in addition to posting five shots on goal.
Scouting the Opposition
USF (9-9-2, 7-4-1) won the West Coast Conference title, earning an automatic bid into the tournament. The Dons head to Berkeley winning three of their last four, although they did lose their regular-season finale at Loyola Marymount.
USF owns the all-time series record against Cal at 21-11-2. The Dons will be making their 31st overall NCAA Tournament appearance and their fourth in the last five years.
The leading scorer for USF is Conor Chinn with an impressive 35 points on 17 goals.
Bears Sweep Stanford
Cal knocked off Stanford, 1-0, last Saturday in the regular-season finale to sweep the season series against the Cardinal. Junior Jacob Wilson scored the game-winning goal at the 48:33 mark. Wilson collected the ball in the Cardinal penalty area and fired past Stanford goalkeeper John Moore for his third goal and second game-winning goal of the season. Andrew Wiedeman and sophomore A.J. Soares earned assists on the goal.
Stefan Frei recorded his eighth shutout of the year and the 19th of his collegiate career, making four saves in the process.
If the Bears are able to get past USF, they will head down the state and tangle with UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday, Nov. 25, at 7 p.m. in Santa Barbara. The Gauchos were one of the 16 teams that earned a first-round bye. The third round of the NCAA Tournament will take place on Saturday, Nov. 29.
Postseason Success Under Kevin Grimes
When Kevin Grimes took the helm as head coach at Cal, the Bears had not won a single postseason game in the history of the program. Grimes changed that in his third year (2002) helping the Bears gain a 2-1 win over UC Santa Barbara. Since 2001, Grimes has compiled a postseason record of 6-7-1. Earlier this year, Grimes recorded his 100th career coaching victory at Cal when the Bears defeated Stanford on The Farm in overtime on Oct. 18.
In last year's College Cup, Cal held off UC Davis, 2-1, in overtime in the first round at Edwards Stadium. Andrew Wiedeman continued his impressive freshman campaign with the game-winning score in overtime. The Bears earned a trip to Virginia Tech, but lost, 3-2, to the Hokies. Javier Ayala-Hil recorded both Cal goals with Wiedeman collecting the assists.
Stefan Frei - Climbing the All-Time Charts
Stefan Frei is cementing his legacy in the school's program. The junior from Alamo, Calif., originally from Widnau, Switzerland, has been stellar all season once again for the Bears. He is a key component of the Bears' tough defense.
On Nov. 15, Frei recorded his 19th career shutout at Cal. He currently stands in fifth on Cal's all-time list for career shutouts. Frei has eight shutouts thus far in 2008, collected nine last year and had two in the previous campaign. He is one clean sheet away from tying the fourth-place spot, which is currently held by Bears assistant coach Henry Foulk.
Frei's current goals-against average of 0.68 is not only a conference best, but also ranks him 22nd in the nation.
At the start of the season, Frei was named to the 2008 Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy Watch List, as announced on Aug. 19 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
Wiedeman Leading The Way
After having a breakout freshman campaign, Andrew Wiedeman has not slowed down one bit. After leading the team in 2007 with 20 points, he has racked up 21 points (8G, 5A) in 2008. Wiedeman scored both goals when Cal traveled to Washington in October, also tallying a goal when the Huskies visited Berkeley on Nov. 9, and had the lone goal for the Bears against San Diego State on Oct. 12 and Oregon State on Nov. 7.
He opened the season with a five-point weekend, including two goals in the season opener against UC Riverside on Aug. 29. For that performance, Wiedeman was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for the second time in his collegiate career and the Soccer America Player of the Week. He was also named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week. He scored the eventual game winner in Cal's 3-1 victory over UC Riverside. Wiedeman scored two goals in less than four minutes apart to give the Bears a commanding 3-0 lead. On Aug. 31 against Maryland, Wiedeman tallied an assist on the game-winning goal.
Jimenez, Carrasco Making a Big Impact
Heading into this season, two players Cal was counting on to lead the team were Andrew Wiedeman and Stefan Frei. While those two have been having strong seasons, they aren't the only Bears playing well right now. Servando Carrasco and Hector Jimenez have both been instrumental in the Bears' success in 2008.
Carrasco put in the game-winning goal at Stanford on Oct. 18, moving up to second on the team in goals this year with three. He is also tied for first on the team in assists with seven.
Jimenez tallied seven assists in 2008, before suffering a season-ending injury, and also has two goals on the year. For most of the year, Jimenez led the conference in assists and was also ranked in the top 25 for most of the year in that category.
Cal's sophomore class has been a big factor in the team's success this year besides the contributions of Andrew Wiedeman, Servando Carrasco and Hector Jimenez. Davis Paul is tied for second on the team in assists with five. He has also scored two goals this year.
A.J. Soares, scored his first two collegiate goals in 2008, one of which was the game-tying goal in the 1-1 draw against SMU. He added an assist against Stanford last weekend. Demitrius Omphroy ended the regular season with two goals and an assist. One of his scores came on a free kick against UCLA on Oct. 10.