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NCAA Women’s Soccer 1st Round: Bears can’t overcome early red card, eliminated 2-1 by Santa Clara

A tough way to end the year for the Golden Bears.

Abi Kim and the Golden Bears will look to defeat the visiting Santa Clara for the 2nd time in Edwards Stadium this year.
Cal Women’s Soccer Twitter

Golden Bears had to play a person down since the 3rd minute of this match after senior Indigo Gibson picked up the red. Santa Clara scored off that free kick to go up 1-0, but the Bears will not quit. After earning a penalty inside the box, Bears scored the equalizer via a penalty to send this match tied into the 2nd half.

Unfortunately, Santa Clara continued to exploit the person advantage to get a bunch of great looks. Eventually, they found a 2nd goal past Cal’s Emily Boyd for the final margin.

For the match, the Broncos outshot the Bears 17 to 8. They also had 6 corners to 0 for the home team (playing with a woman down).

Santa Clara will advance to the 2nd round against Vanderbilt while the Bears saw their season end via a home first round loss for the 2nd straight year.

Cal fans will have to wait again for that elusive long postseason run by the always talented Cal Women’s Soccer team.


For those who cannot make it to Edwards Stadium for the Cal Women’s Soccer 1st Round match, this gamethread is for you to discuss the match, which appears to have a live online stream (see link in the last tweet at the end).

Golden Bears are back in the NCAA postseason for the 14th consecutive years. Looking to defy the long streak of being eliminated in either the first or second round, the Bears, unseeded but ranked in the 20’s, actually have both the team and the draw to pull this off.

First up for the Bears is a rematch against the local rival Santa Clara Broncos, 2nd place finisher of the West Coast Conference. Bears defeated the Broncos 2-1 in the 2nd match of the season. Then 24th ranked Santa Clara actually had an 1-0 (scored in a 30th minute on a cross that eluded a bunch of Cal defenders) lead late, until the Bears found an equalizer in the 80th minute (thanks to sophomore Abi Kim) and a go ahead goal in 89th minute on a penalty drawn by Kim (converted by senior Kelly Fitzgerald).

Should the Bears make it past the Broncos (hardly a given), the Bears will face the Vanderbilt Commodores who upset Regional 4th seed Ohio State 2-1 from Columbus. The 2nd and potentially 3rd round match will be played in Columbia, South Carolina next weekend as the Regional top seed USC won their opening match 3-0 over Alabama State. USC will take on Wisconsin (5-0 winner over Toledo) in their 2nd round match.

About the California Golden Bears (13-5-1, 6-4-1 in Pac-12):

Golden Bears are lead, on and off the field, by senior and 2017 Pac-12 Women’s Soccer Goalkeeper of the Year in Emily Boyd. Boyd is one clean sheet shy at 10 of matching her school record of 11 (achieved in both 2015 and 2016) shutouts in one season. Given how most NCAA postseason matches are low scoring or does come down to the penalty kick, having a veteran netminder is instrumental to a potential deep run.

In front of Boyd, Cal has a very solid backline with seniors Indigo Gibson and Heather Walleigh along side super-freshman Emily Smith (All-Conference 3rd team and All-Freshman team).

Offensively, the Bears are lead by sophomore striker Abi Kim, who has a team high 7 goals. Junior forward Miranda Nild is next with 6 goals and 1 assists.

All-Pac-12 freshman team member Luca Deza is one of the top Cal playmaker with a team high 4 assists to go with 2 goals. Also in the middle is Cal senior Kelly Fitzgerald (1 goal and 3 assists), who earned All-Pac-12 3rd team honor. Fitzgerald may be the most reliable penalty shooter for the Bears.

Bears are coming off a very tough gauntlet at the end of the Pac-12 play, a three match road trip against the other California schools in USC (1-0 loss), UCLA (1-0 loss), and top ranked Stanford (1-0 loss). The trio of 1-0 losses are as close to moral victories as anything.

About the Santa Clara Broncos (13-6-1, 8-1 in WCC)

Coming off a 7 match winning streak, the Broncos have not lost since an 1-0 setback to Pepperdine on October 1st. The Broncos and the Bears have met fairly frequently in the NCAA (thanks to the NCAA wanting to minimize travel for the 1st round) with Santa Clara holding a 3-1-1 edge. Santa Clara also happens to be the school that one time Cal Bear and eventual USWNT star Brandi Chastain transferred to back in the 90’s.

WCC Freshman of the Year Kelsey Turnbow leads the Bronco with 12 goals and 5 assists. She is expected to play even better now at the end of the season than in the earlier contest. Sophomore Maddy Gonzalez has 8 goals, including the one against the Bears. Junior Maria Sanchez is their top distributor with 6 assists.

Melissa Lowder, a junior, is the Bronco keeper. She has 4 shutouts on the year.