CORVALLIS, Ore. - The fourth-ranked California Golden Bears (12-2-2, 6-1-1 Pac-12) knocked off the Oregon State Beavers (7-8-2, 0-6-2 Pac-12) 3-0 on Friday afternoon at Paul Lorenz Field in Corvallis, Ore. The Bears were led by junior forward Omid Jalali, who tallied a pair of goals in his first start of the 2013 campaign. Co-captain Steve Birnbaum got the scoring started in the 49th minute when he headed home his conference-leading ninth goal of the season. Goalkeeper Justin Taillole earned his fifth shutout of the season, making one save in goal for Cal.
“Both teams put in a hard effort today,” said Cal head coach Kevin Grimes. “It was a good performance for us over a very good team in Oregon State.”
Though the game was scoreless at halftime, the Bears outshot the Beavers 13-4 in the first 45 minutes of play and threatened to grab the lead on multiple occasions. In the first five minutes, Cal created a flurry of chances, the first of which saw junior midfielder Seth Casiple’s shot from distance towards the near post force a quality save out of Oregon State goalkeeper Matt Bersano. The redshirt sophomore goalkeeper finished his day with a season-high 12 saves.
Cal threatened again moments later, when Jalali’s header towards goal struck the woodwork. The ensuing rebound attempt by senior forward Luis Fuentes wound up going over the bar. The Beavers withstood the early pressure, and after a quarter of an hour, midfielder Bjorn Sandberg had a good opportunity to give the home side the lead, but his volley from the edge of the penalty area went wide of the near post.
Junior defender Dylan Serrano had the Bears’ next great chance, as he turned well into the box but his low shot to the near post was turned away by Bersano in the 22nd minute.
Just four minutes after the break, the Bears had their breakthrough. A corner kick served in by Casiple saw Birnbaum rise above the defenders to smash his header past a sprawling Bersano to put Cal in front 1-0. Casiple’s well-placed outswinger picked out Birnbaum perfectly at the back post for the first tally of the game for the Golden Bears, and marked the junior’s fifth assist of the season.
After Cal threatened to double their advantage a couple of times, it was Jalali who found the back of the net in the 78th minute of play. A brilliant buildup from midfielder Connor Hallisey and Dylan Serrano saw a cross played in to Jalali, who nodded it into the back post for his third goal of the year.
Just a few minutes later it was Jalali again, as he put the game out of reach with his second goal of the game, stretching the Cal lead to 3-0 in the 83rd minute. A ball was played in to junior forward Stefano Bonomo, who distributed a quick one-touch pass into the path of Jalali, who lashed it into the far post.
The Bears conclude their Pacific Northwest road trip in Seattle on Sunday at 1 p.m. PT when they battle the third-ranked Washington Huskies, who left Northern California with a 1-1 draw on Oct. 6 at Goldman Field. Sunday’s game will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Networks.