Nov. 11, 2005
AUSTIN, Texas - No. 3-seeded California blanked Rice, 2-0, Friday afternoon in the opening round of the NCAA College Cup at Myers Stadium. The No. 6-ranked Golden Bears improved to 15-3-2 with their school-record tying 14th shutout, while the Owls conclude their season at 13-7-1 after allowing their first goals in the last five games.
"It was the game we thought it would be," said Cal head coach Kevin Boyd, who was named the 2005 Pac-10 Coach of the Year. "We thought Rice would be a very good team and they were. They made it a hard-fought battle the whole way through. I thought we played very well the first half, and I thought Rice played very well the second half. Fortunately, we stuck a couple away and those held."
The 1988 Bears also recorded 14 shutouts.
Senior forward Liz Eisenberg gave Cal a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute when she lofted a 25-yard shot just under the cross bar after intercepting a Rice clearing attempt. The goal was the second-team All-Pac-10 selection's 11th of the season, fifth goal in the last four games and later proved to be her seventh game-winning goal of 2005. Twelve of Eisenberg's 22 career goals have been game winners.
"Tracy (Hamm) ran up the right side and crossed a great ball in to Dania (Cabello) who put Julia (Schnugg) on," said Eisenberg. "I was lucky to get the rebound (off Rice) and put it in. It was really nice because it was a huge group effort. It was from Tracy to Dania to Julia and back to me. It was good placement. It fell to my strong foot. I had an opportunity like that against USC, and I was successful. I thought any chance I got I would try to get the keeper while she's off her line."
Sophomore Laurie Gartrell, who is listed as a midfielder on the roster, took advantage of her time off the Bears' bench on the frontline today. In the 40th minute, Hamm traveled down the right flank and launched a shot outside of Rice's penalty area which went off the left post and then off goalkeeper Adriene Giese's hands to the ground. Gartrell was there to knock the ball into the net for her first goal of the season and second of her career.
Cal outshot Rice, 16-2 in the first half, with nine different players launching shots for the Bears, who also held a 5-0 shots on goal edge. For the game, Cal held a 26-12 overall shot edge (10-4 on goal), marking only the fifth time all year a Cal opponent has launched double-digit shots.
In the first few minutes of the second half, Cabello, who paced her team with five shots, nearly extended the Bears' lead but her shot inside the six-yard box went high. Eisenberg dribbled down field to set up the play. About 12 minutes into the second half, Cabello forced Giese to make a save on her eight-yard shot, marking her third shot of the half.
In the 64th minute, Cal sophomore midfielder Chioma Igwe forced Giese to make an acrobatic save on her long shot. Giese corralled six saves for the Owls in the game.
Sophomore reserve forward Stephanie Wieger saved a header from Rice's Clory Martin with about 13 minutes to play to help preserve the shutout for the Bears. Senior goalkeeper Ashley Sulprizio made three saves for the Bears to earn her 10th shutout of the year.
"Rice picked up its intensity a bit (in the second half) and started keeping the ball better," said Boyd. "It was probably a confidence factor for them, and I didn't think we played as well the second half. It was a combination of each."
On Sunday at 2 p.m. CT, Cal advances to play UTEP, which defeated Texas, 3-2, in overtime in Austin after Cal's game against Rice. Today's win was the Bears' second NCAA Tournament victory since 1988, with the other win coming against Denver in 2002.
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