Nov. 14, 2008
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The California women's soccer team lost, 2-1, to No. 7 Florida in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday evening at UF's James G. Pressly Stadium. The Golden Bears outshot the Gators, 14-8, and earned seven corner kicks to Florida's three. Cal's only goal came from redshirt freshman forward Natasha Richardson in the fourth minute. With the loss, Cal drops to 10-9-1 overall while Florida now stands at 18-3-1.
"I have to give credit to Florida, and I wish them well in the rest of the tournament," Cal head coach Neil McGuire said. "This is not the first time this year that we've out cornered and outshot a team. I think we almost doubled Florida on those. We haven't had success in front of the goal and we've given up goals at critical moments."
Cal got on the board first with a goal from Richardson at 3:34. Richardson put it past Florida goalkeeper Katie Fraine after intercepting a Gator through ball. The score was Richardson's first as a Golden Bear and the shot was the Petaluma, Calif., native's ninth shot of the season. Cal had shot attempts in the sixth minute from redshirt sophomore forward Lisa Kevorkian and sophomore defender/midfielder Megan Jesolva, all of which were blocked by Florida defenders.
Cal junior goalkeeper Gina Pellegrini made an important save in the 11th minute on a shot from Megan Kerns on a Gator throw-in. A Cal foul gave UF a free kick at 14:20, but Ameera Abdullah's left-footed free kick was blocked by Kevorkian and senior forward Valerie Barnes. Kerns tied the game at 16:07 with a free kick from 28 yards.
Freshman midfielder Katrin Omarsdottir took a powerful shot on goal with 27 minutes to play, but Fraine made the save. Shortly thereafter, Omarsdottir earned a corner kick for the Bears, but the Gators cleared it. Senior defender Nkechi Kanu made a key block in the 33rd minute when Kerns went one-on-one with her.
The Bears opened the second half with two shots in the first three minutes - one by freshman forward Mariam Azimi that went wide and another from Omarsdottir that was saved. The Gators pulled ahead for good at 50:22 with a goal from Abdullah off a cross from Caitlin Howard.
Cal responded with two close shots from Barnes and Kanu.
The Bears took seven corner kicks in the second half, including three in a two-minute span, but they could not convert. Barnes and Kevorkian made Fraine make stops at 58:41 and 64:29, respectively.
Jesolva led the Bears with three shots, and Omarsdottir had a team-high two shots on goal. Pellegrini made four stops in the box.