The heat of the fall season has simmered down with the continuous hit-and-miss of the women’s soccer team in the past week, as they closed with a tie of 2-2 between Cal and the China national team and a loss of 0-1 to UC Irvine in an away game. The Bears should be hoping to make some refinements to their plays in the upcoming games against Saint Mary’s Gaels and UC San Diego’s Tritons.
On Aug. 25 at 4 PM at the Saint Mary’s Stadium, Cal is set to face a difficult opponent — Saint Mary’s Gaels, whom it had tied 1-1 to in the previous season. St. Mary’s defense is equally matched to Cal’s, most recently exemplified by player Taylor Poland’s achievement of West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Week — on the same week the Bears face the Gaels. Poland — who recorded many game-changing saves in the game against Cal in the 2021-22 season, including a major one against forward Anysa Gray, who plays for Cal again this year as a Junior — will prove to be a tough goalkeeper against the blue and gold. However, Poland is still symmetric with Cal’s Angelina Anderson, who holds many different titles as one of the best goalkeepers at Cal of all time, making record saves (more than 200 total) since her freshman year.
Not only do the Gaels exhibit defensive prowess, but their aggressive playing style has also birthed many strong forwards and midfielders. Tougher competition lies with a younger player: freshman Tessa Salvestrin, who won the Bay Alarm Student-Athlete of the Week award for the same week. Saint Mary’s season so far has been a winning streak of 2-0. The Thursday game is already looking to be quite the power struggle between animal and (mer)man. With the Bears playing more possessively, going head-to-head with Saint Mary’s seems hopeful. The neighborhood rivalry between the two remains prominent, as they have similar playing styles of scoring a majority of the points in the second half.
Within the same week, the Bears will play UC San Diego on Aug. 28 at home in Edwards Stadium at 4 p.m. After a disappointing first loss away from home in UC Irvine, along with a stagnant tie at the first home game of the season, the blue and gold will be followed by what is predicted to be a tough game against Saint Mary’s. Especially since in the 2021-22 season the Bears crushed the Tritons swiftly with a 3-0 win, Cal might have a quick breather against the Tritons on Sunday.
Cal forward Mia Fontana has been looking consistent in her more recent games against Irvine and the Chinese National team, with deliberately powerful shots scored in both games. Fontana may pull through once again as she did with one of the three goals made by Cal in the previous season. UC San Diego’s overall score for the 2021-22 season was 0-2-0, and had a conference score of 0-0-0.
Cal’s need to bounce back from the disappointment of the UC Irvine and Chinese national team games before a slow decline is evident with the kickoff of the fall season. The challenge of Saint Mary’s leers over the Memorial Stadium, ever so apparent with the flurry of recent accolades to star Gael players. But with the recent losses being as tight as they were and the Golden Bears still making promising decisions and plays, there remains the opportunity to break Saint Mary’s winning streak. With that opportunity within their grasp, the Bears will continue on to face the Tritons the following Sunday, tidying up the first two weeks of the fall soccer season.