Nov. 18, 2011
Stanford, Calif. - The California women's soccer team played No. 16 Boston College to a scoreless draw before falling to the Eagles in penalty kicks, 3-1, ending the Bears' season in the second round of the NCAA Championship Friday night in front of 975 fans at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.
In an evenly-contested match, Cal (12-6-4) and BC (12-5-3) played scoreless soccer through regulation and two overtime periods, forcing the Bears to rest their fate on a penalty-kick shootout for the second week in a row. Similar to last week, Cal inserted freshman Kathleen Messinger in goal for the penalty-kick round.
Freshman Taylor Comeau was up first for the Bears. Her shot was saved by Boston College goalkeeper Jillian Mastroianni. A successful attempt by BC striker Kristen Mewis gave the Eagles the early advantage. Cal evened it right back up as freshman Thelma Bjork Einarsdottir was successful on her attempt and Stephanie McCaffrey's attempt for BC was high. Senior Danielle Brunache's attempt went high of the cross bar, while Alyssa Pember's shot was good as the Eagles re-captured the advantage, 2-1, heading into the fourth set of penalty kicks. Sophomore Emi Lawson's shot was initially saved by a diving Mastroianni, but the ball bounced off the post and was headed for the inside of the goal before the keeper corralled it just in time to prevent the score. Eagle forward Gibby Wagner then went right with her shot and found the back of the net to seal the victory for Boston College.
"I thought it was a very well-played match by both teams," said Cal head coach Neil McGuire. "There is no question Boston College is an excellent team, well-coached and well-disciplined with tremendous players and we have to tip our hat to them. I think, as a team, we played well. We created chances and were dangerous, but unfortunately couldn't score. When you get beat in a penalty kick shootout, you can't look past the quality of the game. It is disappointing to get beat in a shootout but ultimately it is just one kick of the ball. The team should be very proud of themselves.
"This is a season that we thought would never end," McGuire continued. "We were playing tremendously well. It is difficult for the players because we all felt we had a run. When you get to this stage in the year, there are a lot of good teams. We just missed a couple of opportunities. Credit the seniors for great leadership this year and exceptional play and I feel for them not advancing."
Boston College held a slim, 18-16, edge in total shots, while Cal recorded 13 corner kicks to just five for Boston College. Senior Emily Kruger made one save in goal for the Bears, while Mastroianni was tested all afternoon, making six stops.
California controlled possession early and got two solid scoring chances in the first 20 minutes of the match. Junior Lauren Battung fed sophomore Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick, who fired a shot from the corner of the box that was high of the goal mouth during Cal's first shot of the match. Junior Betsy Hassett was also high on a shot from the top of the box several minutes later.
In the second half, Hassett took advantage of a miscue by a Boston College defender to create some free space before sending a shot just high of the goal mouth. Shortly afterwards, Fitzpatrick rocketed a shot towards the goal that was saved by Mastroianni.
Wagner gave Boston College its best scoring chance six minutes into the second period when her shot ricocheted off the cross bar where it was cleared. McCaffrey was just wide of the post on a shot with 22 minutes remaining in regulation and Mewis was high of the cross bar right afterwards.
Under 10 minutes remaining in regulation, senior Miranda White corralled a free ball near the left of the box and was able to get a good shot off with a high kick, but Mastroianni was there for the save.
Cal's best chance at a goal in regulation came in the final five minutes of the second period when sophomore Rachel Mercik saw the keeper move out and tried to lob a shot over her head. The ball was just barely touched by a leaping Mastroianni's out-stretched finger tips, but enough to deflect the ball wide of the goal and prevent the score.
The sophomore later had a header off a corner kick that went wide of the near post prior to the match going to the penalty kick shootout.
Friday marked the completion of the highly-successful careers of Cal's senior class, including Danielle Brunache, Katie Benz, Kaitlin Paletta, Katie Suits and Miranda White. Their contributions to the soccer program will be missed.
With a starting lineup of five sophomores, three freshmen, two juniors and one senior for California in Friday's match, the Bears offer much promise for a bright future in Berkeley.
"Cal has always had a great tradition of excellence and we want to make sure we continue to make our school proud and continue to try and grow and play great soccer."