Sept. 3, 2010
BERKELEY - After two double-overtime draws, the No. 21/19 California women's soccer team inundated Rice with a 4-1 final score on Friday afternoon at Edwards Stadium. Senior forward Alex Morgan had two goals while sophomore forward/midfielder Lauren Battung handled a penalty kick and the Owls had an own goal to account for the Golden Bears' four goals.
"I am extremely proud of the players," Cal head coach Neil McGuire said. "Rice wasn't an opponent we could overlook by any means, and they proved that today. I thought our team handled the game effectively."
The first goal of the game came at 4:16, which is the earliest Cal had gotten on the board in the 2010 season. Cal earned a corner kick and senior defender/midfielder Megan Jesolva ran to the near side to take it. Jesolva crossed it perfectly into the goal mouth, where there was a scrum and the Owl goalkeeper Meghan Erkel accidentally kicked it in for an own Owl goal.
Roughly four minutes later Battung was fouled in the box, earning the Bears a penalty kick. Battung stepped up and absolutely fooled Erkel in goal. Battung shot to her right and the goalkeeper's left. Erkel did not attempt so much as a dive for it, and the Bears took a 2-0 lead with not even 10 minutes expired on the clock. "Battung had a nice finish on her PK goal," McGuire said. "It was earned from our hard work to get into a dangerous attacking position."
In the 11th minute, the referee handed out the first of three yellow cards in the game, this one going to Rice's Hayley Williams. Morgan took the direct free kick for the Bears and sent the ball flying to the back-left corner of the goal from roughly 30 yards to distance Cal, 3-0.
After 28 scoreless minutes, Rice poked one through. Korey Taylor took a left-footed shot to the left side of the net with Jordan McCray getting the assist credit.
The Bears took a 3-1 lead into the locker room at halftime, outshooting the Owls, 8-1, in the first 45.
Cal added another two points in the 85 minute. Freshman Genessee Daughetee, who made her first start as a Golden Bear, crossed the ball into Morgan, near the top of the box. Morgan took her sixth and final shot of the game and was rewarded with a goal, upping Cal's differential to 4-1.
"Both of Alex's goals were outstanding," McGuire said. "She's been working on them in practice a lot lately."
Cal was relentless in its attack. In the final 2:10 minutes, the Bears took three shots. Freshman forward Kate Bennett took two - one at 87:50 and the other at 00:01 - that both required Erkel saves. Freshman forward Rachel Mercik fired one off with 1:59 remaining that narrowly missed wide.
Junior midfielder Katrin Omarsdottir, who plays for the Icelandic national team, made her triumphant return to the pitch for the first time in 2010. After Morgan had a dangerous cross into her, Omarsdottir had a near shot after she juked her Owl defender by Erkel came out and fell on the ball.
Overall, Morgan paced the Bears with six shots and two goals. Sophomore Lauren Hein had the start in goal for the Bears, allowing one goal, while Emily Kruger played the second half and had Cal's sole save of the game. Erkel made five saves and allowed four scores.
The California Invitational continues on Sunday, Sept. 4. Sunday's doubleheader has USF playing Rice at 1:30, and the Bears play Hawaii a half hour after the early game to close out the weekend tournament. All of the games will be played at Edwards and will be free to the public.
Following the Hawaii match on Sunday, the Bears will help teach local soccer players how to live like champions in a free post-game clinic. Those who participate will have a 45-minute soccer and life-skill instruction by both the coaching staff and members of the team. These clinics are open to all and are a great way to improve your skills and better understand Cal women's soccer team culture.