A last-minute header goal by sophomore forward Laura Schott gave Cal a come-from-behind victory over Colorado College Friday afternoon at Edwards Stadium. Cal defeated the Tigers 2-1 in the opening game of the Golden Gate Classic and improved their record to 9-0-1.
Following a Colorado College (9-4) penalty, the Bears’ offense set up for a final attempt at breaking a 1-1 deadlock in the 89th minute of the game. Former Pac-10 player of the week Tami Pivnek lined up outside the Tigers’ penalty box and struck a perfectly targeted ball just in front of Colorado College’s goal. Schott angled a header past goal keeper Caitlin Carlson and into the bottom left side of the net.
“They were a really tough team,” Schott said after the game. “I feel like our character pulled it out.”
Character, coach Kevin Boyd said, shouldn’t have even been a factor in this one.
“It should never have been that tight,” he said. “Their team works hard, but we were the better team. We came out looking fatigued.”
After a 120-minute double overtime marathon match against Santa Clara last week, which led to the Bears only non-win of the season, Cal players recognize that they need to increase their level of intensity earlier in the game.
“We didn’t come out with the effort we needed,” said junior midfielder Gretchen Vanderlip, who scored Cal’s first goal in the 77th minute off a double assist by Amy White and Kassie Doubrava. “We tend to be less intense for games against lower caliber teams and that’s not good.”
Colorado College’s Rebecca Carroll scored her team’s only goal of the game in the 28th minute, breaking free of the Cal defense on a quick counter-attack and sending a strike past the outstretched arms of Cal goalkeeper Maite Zabala.
“This definitely wasn’t our best offensive game,” Schott said. “Timing was our biggest problem. I give our defense a lot of credit.”
Through the first 60 minutes of the match, Colorado College looked as if they were going to upset the nation’s No. 8 team, pushing the ball forward and minimizing Cal’s offensive opportunities. But the Bears proved too much for the Tiger team to handle.
“We expected Cal to be very talented,” Colorado College coach Greg Ryan said. “We had good chances, but in the end you look at a kid like Laura Schott and she’s the difference.”
Schott continues to lead the Bears in points with 23, which includes 11 goals and an assist. The Bears outshot the Tigers 25 to 8 for the game, including two shots that ricocheted off goal posts. Cal’s Zabala had only two saves in the Bears’ victory.
Cal’s 9-0-1 record is impressive in and of itself, but it’s even more remarkable considering that Cal played its last six games before Friday’s affair away from Edwards Stadium and against such soccer powerhouses as Santa Clara.
Cal faces University of San Diego Sunday at 1 p.m. in the second half of the Golden Gate Classic, co-hosted by Cal and UC San Francisco.
“San Diego is as good of a team, if not better, than Colorado College,” Boyd said. “Our players are going to have to come out ready to play.”
The Bears hit the road again to open their Pac-10 schedule with a pair of games against Washington State (Oct. 6) and Washington (Oct. 8) before hosting Stanford on Oct. 15.