NEWS & NOTES:
- The win was Cal’s first outright win in seven years, and the first against Stanford since Neil McGuire became head coach.
- Cal finishes the regular season with an 11-4-5 overall record and 4-4-3 Pac-12 record.
- This was the sixth overtime game Cal played in 2013.
- Selection for the 64-team NCAA Soccer Tournament takes place Monday at 1:30 p.m. PT.
STANFORD, Calif. – A golden goal by senior Rachel Mercik (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) helped Cal close out its regular season in grand fashion as the Golden Bears posted their first win over No. 10/9 Cardinal in seven years. Cal downed Stanford 1-0 at Cagan Stadium in Stanford on Wednesday evening to improve to 11-4-5 overall and 4-4-3 in the Pac-12.
Mercik chipped away at the Stanford net throughout the evening with a team-leading three shots. Despite Stanford’s shot total of 27 throughout the game – more than double Cal’s 11 shots – Mercik’s header delivered the win in the final two minutes of the first overtime period.
The Cardinal outshot the Bears 7-0 midway through the first half before Cal got its first look at the goal. Mercik dashed in from the left, sending the ball swiftly toward the right side of the net as it rolled just a few inches wide.
With less than two minutes left before halftime, junior Kory Lamet (Martinez, Calif.) volleyed another ball toward the Cardinal goal, but it landed straight into the hands of Stanford keeper Jane Campbell.
At halftime, Stanford led Cal 14-2 in shots and 3-1 in corner kicks, and Cal’s senior goalie Emily Kruger (Woodside, Calif.) tallied two saves.
Cal tried to capitalize on a foul by Stanford at the 65th-minute mark as senior Nina Pederson (Silkebourg, Denmark) took a free kick and hooked it toward the net, but Campbell grabbed it before it did any damage.
The Bears rallied in the final minute of regulation, attempting two shots as one sailed wide and another was saved by Campbell, sending the game into Cal’s sixth overtime of the season.
Unlike in the previous two periods, the game was well-matched and each team had a couple of tries at the goal. Mercik finally broke through at 98:08 when senior Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick (Pleasanton, Calif.) played her a ball in the air from the right. With sophomore Ifeoma Onumonu (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) defending her to the right side, Mercik beat Campbell to the ball and headed it into an open net. It was the team’s first golden goal of the season.
Kruger finished with five saves.
With the regular season now over, Cal awaits its postseason fate. The 64-team NCAA Soccer Tournament field will be announced Monday at 1:30 p.m. PT during the NCAA Tournament Selection Show on NCAA.com. The first round begins Friday, Nov. 15 with four teams at each of the 16 campus sites.
California 5 (Kruger, Emily 5), Stanford 4 (Campbell, Jane 4)