Aug. 20, 2010
BERKELEY - Whatever jitters the No. 14 California women's soccer team had at the beginning of its 2010 season opener, they did not last very long. The Golden Bears scored in the seventh minute and then took a 2-0 lead in the second thanks to an own goal by Loyola Marymount to defeat the Lions, 2-1, on Friday afternoon at Edwards Stadium.
"I thought we did very well," Cal head coach Neil McGuire said. "I think that we controlled the game for large parts of it. Obviously there is some nervousness, especially with the younger players, but I thought they all did extremely well."
The Bears established the tone of the match with a goal at 6:04. Sophomore forward/midfielder Lauren Battung passed to junior Miranda White, who chipped it in from the right side of the box for Cal's first goal of the season.
"It was a great goal," McGuire said of White's score. "Miranda has the ability to get herself on the end of things. She's a player that we've played all over the field, and she's very, very good no matter where you put her."
While the scoreboard remained stagnant, displaying the 1-0 Cal lead for a full 67 minutes, the Bears' kick count kept creeping higher and higher. At 73:08, the ball finally made its way pasts the posts again.
Freshman Mekenna DeBack took her first shot of her Cal career at 72:41, but a LMU defender blocked it and the Bears earned a corner kick. Senior co-captain Emily Shibata took the corner from the far side and crossed it perfectly into the box. After a scuffle, a LMU player pushed the ball into the net to distance the Bears, 2-0, thanks to the own goal.
Not to be shutout, the Lions made things interesting in the 86th minute when Nickey Ha took a shot to the back left corner. Cal freshman keeper Emily Kruger tried to fall on it but it had crossed the line for a LMU score, bringing the count to 2-1, still in the Bears' favor.
The Cal defense held steady in the last four minutes and helped secure the final 2-1 decision for the Bears. In what were mirror halves statistically speaking, the Bears took six shots and three corner kicks in both the first and second of the game. The Lions found themselves outshot by a margin of seven at 12-5, which is characteristic for McGuire's squad.
Although the Bears defeated Fresno State, 2-1, in exhibition play last week, this was the first official game for Cal's bevy of freshmen. Getting time on the field were freshmen Emi Lawson, who was the only freshman to start and play all 90 minutes, Emily Kruger, Bronwyn Studman, Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick, Kate Bennett, Grace Leer, DeBack and Rachel Mercik.
"I think that we did really well," Emily Shibata said. "We're always anxious when we come out the first game. It was a little frantic at first but I think we settled down and got into our flow. But there's always something to improve on."
Cal will have one day to make minor improves before continuing with its campaign-opening weekend. The Bears welcome UC Irvine on Sunday, Aug. 22 at Edwards Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. and admission is free.