Cal has gone unbeaten through 11 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.
BERKELEY – In a game of intensely physical on-field battles, including a red card for the go-ahead penalty kick goal, the No. 11/15 Golden Bears staked their claim to a 2-1 victory over Arizona State with a pair of goals from senior Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick (Pleasanton, Calif.). It was the Golden Bears' 11th-straight game without a loss for an 8-0-3 record as the Sun Devils fell to 6-4-0.
Arizona State outplayed Cal with nine shots on goal to Cal’s six, but the Bears made the most of their quality chances and senior goalie Emily Kruger (Woodside, Calif.) tallied eight saves in the matchup.
The game very quickly escalated into a tense, physical battle starting with a collision between two players just five minutes in, and the first half of play continued as an evenly matched back-and-forth.
At 12 minutes in, Fitzpatrick took the ball from 18 yards out and broke away from two defenders for a solo shot straight into the right side of the net.
“I wanted to catch the defense off guard because we focused on breaking pressure this week, and that was big because they focus on pressing high,” Fitzpatrick said.
Despite the early goal, the Sun Devils’ intensity never faltered and the Bears headed into halftime with another 45 minutes of tough play ahead. Both teams fouled just once while each getting eight chances at the net.
Arizona State got the equalizer off a header at 68:45 as Lucy Lara used a free kick to cross the ball upward and found Kaitlyn Pavolovich near the left post.
Controversy ensued at the 86th minute as Fitzpatrick hit a routine volley toward the net. Sun Devil keeper Chandler Morris stopped the ball from entering the frame and as sophomore Samantha Witteman (Redondo Beach, Calif.) went to tap the ball in for a goal, ASU’s Mackenzie Semerad tackled her from behind to inhibit her scoring chance. Semerad was presented a red card and Fitzpatrick successfully converted the penalty kick to seal Cal’s victory.
On Sunday, the Golden Bears look to match 2000’s 12-game unbeaten streak as Cal meets Arizona at home on Goldman Field at 1 p.m.
“Our focus and taking it one game at a time is what has brought us this success with the streak. The big thing for focusing with Sunday’s game is to focus in on the University of Arizona and take it game-by-game as we have been, and to make sure we’re not taking anything for granted and are coming out there ready to fight,” Fitzpatrick said.
12:00 Cal -- Fitzpatrick, Kaitlyn (unassisted)
68:45 ASU -- Pavlovich,Kaitlyn(Lara,Lucy)
86:00 Cal -- Fitzpatrick, Kaitlyn
ASU 4 (Morris,Chandler 4), California 8 (Kruger, Emily 8)