Nov. 13, 2005
AUSTIN, Texas - No. 3-seeded California advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1988 with a 2-1 triumph over UTEP Sunday afternoon at Myers Stadium. The Golden Bears improved to 16-3-2, while the Miners conclude their season at 20-4-1.
"We obviously saw Friday night that UTEP is a very good team," said Cal head coach Kevin Boyd, who was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year last week. "They showed a lot of character coming from behind to beat Texas, which I thought was quite a good team, as well. We knew it was going to be a battle again. I thought we played well. We generated a couple goals, but I was a little disappointed that we didn't stick a couple more in. I thought we created quite a few chances. We should have put at least one more in there. I also thought UTEP was dangerous the entire time."
In the fifth minute, senior forward Liz Eisenberg nearly put the Bears ahead when UTEP's goalkeeper Brittany Popoff journeyed outside of the penalty area to clear the ball, but it bounced off Eisenberg and barely went wide left of the goal.
Senior forward Dania Cabello put Cal ahead, 1-0, in the seventh minute when she received a pass from the left side from Eisenberg outside of the six-yard box and slotted the ball towards the left side of the goal. It was Cabello's seventh goal of the season, and Eisenberg's fourth assist of 2005, with each one coming on a Cabello goal. Overall, Cabello and Eisenberg have connected on eight goals for the Bears this year.
"(Eisenberg) and I have all season long, actually for the last two years now, have had a really good connection and an ability to find each other in really small spaces," said Cabello.
With 17 minutes left in the first half, Cal freshman forward Valerie Barnes almost capitalized on a similar goalie error that occurred in the fifth minute. However, Barnes' shot went just to the right of the net.
Barnes had another excellent chance to extend the Bears' lead in the 40th minute. Barnes received a through ball from senior midfielder Sierra Schlesinger, but her one-on-one opportunity with the keeper from 15-yards hit the left-side netting. A couple of minutes later, Popoff had to dive to save Katie Ratican's shot.
Cal outshot UTEP, 12-2, in the first half, with both of the Miners shots coming from long range.
The Bears kept up their offensive intensity during the second half, coming close to adding to their lead on numerous occasions. All of UTEP's shots continued to come from at least 18 yards. Cal held a 21-9 shot advantage for the game.
"We were making them shoot from outside the 18, which is a credit to our backline," said Boyd. "That's a credit to our backline. They're very stingy. They don't let teams in behind them."
In the 50th minute, Cabello blasted a long shot, which Popoff had to dive to save. Eisenberg almost had a play on the deflection off Popoff's hands.
In the 56th minute, UTEP's Susie Quezada saved junior forward Julia Schnugg's tap in attempt off the goal line.
In the 72nd minute, Barnes scored what later proved to be the game winner when she deposited Ratican's pass into the back of the net from three-yards out. The play developed when sophomore forward Laurie Gartrell's cross into the box deflected off a UTEP player to Ratican. The goal was Barnes' second of the season, with the other coming against Oregon Nov. 4, and Ratican's team-leading sixth assist of 2005.
The Miners, who rallied from two goals down in the final 10 minutes against Texas on Friday to win 3-2 in overtime, cut the Bears' lead to 2-1 with a goal in the 84th minute by Cara Nordin on a 19-yard free kick into the lower-left corner of the goal. UTEP was awarded the free kick after what appeared to be a clean slide tackle by a Cal defender.
Cal travels to second-seeded Florida State for a third-round match-up next week. The Seminoles defeated Illinois, 2-1, in their second-round game in Gainesville, Fla., today. The date and time of the third-round game are to be determined. Schnugg played for the Seminoles the last two seasons before transferring to Cal.
Women's Soccer Result UTEP 0 1 - 1 California 1 1 - 2