ANN ARBOR, Mich. - A tightly-contested, back-and-forth matchup between California and Michigan went into overtime, but the Wolverines prevailed, 13-12, Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor, Mich. True freshman Bella Huther remained red hot offensively, leading the Golden Bears with four goals, while senior Paige Gasparino added three.
Despite suffering the tough loss, head coach Ginger Miles was still very pleased with her team's effort.
"It was definitely a tough loss losing in overtime, but I'm proud of the way we played today," Miles said. "We battled and we supported each other. It was a great overall team effort. On this trip, and in this game in particular, we have rediscovered ourselves and we're back to where we were at the beginning of the season. We came to play our brand of lacrosse, but it just wasn't enough to get the win today."
Michigan scored first and had taken a 3-2 lead halfway through the first half when Huther scored two of her four goals, and along with a goal from Beck, Cal took a 5-3 lead at the 8:55 mark. With just under three minutes remaining before halftime, Michigan cut that lead to one, erasing the only lead for the entire game that was larger than one goal.
After the Wolverines tied the game at five, Gasparino scored on a free-position shot with six seconds left on the clock to give Cal a 6-5 lead at the break.
Michigan scored the first two goals of the second half to take a 7-6 advantage before Huther scored her third goal to tie the contest at seven.
With three minutes remaining in regulation, Michigan scored to tie the game at 10. With 1:43 left, the Wolverines scored again to take a one-goal advantage. Then with less than a minute remaining in regulation, Paige Gasparino scored on a shot that was partially saved by the goalie, but rolled into the net, sending the game into overtime.
Each team scored once in the first overtime period, before the Wolverines ended the game with a sudden-victory goal in the second overtime period.
For the second straight game, Katie Gutierrez was in goal for the Bears, racking up eight saves in the loss.
"She's done a great job since taking over, and she was especially good today," Miles said. "She made a lot of saves in critical moments to keep us in this game. She's been giving us an opportunity to win."
While Miles was pleased with Gutierrez's effort, she stressed how she was happy with the performance of each Bear who was on the field today.
"I'm really proud of all of them," Miles said. "We were keeping the energy up. It was a complete team effort. There were a number of different highlights from many of our players throughout the game. We were playing the type of game that we have to play to be competitive for the rest of the season."
Huther remains Cal's goals and points leader with 38 each. Paige Gasparino is next with 29 points on 20 goals and nine assists. Beck earned her 20th assist of the season today, and she leads the team in that category.
The Golden Bears return to Berkeley next week for the final home game of the season on Tuesday, April 15, at 3 p.m. against Fresno State from Kabam Field at Memorial Stadium.