Cal women’s soccer has continued to stunt opponents in desert and rain this season with their unbeaten streak of a staggering eight wins and ties— nine, including their exhibition game against the Chinese National Team. The Bears triumphantly toppled both UNLV and University of Pennsylvania in this past week, winning 2-0 and 3-0 respectively. With Cal jumping into their conference half of the season, fans are hoping the blue and gold’s stellar performance is sure to continue over in the next game against Pac-12 number-one rated UCLA.
Cal played UNLV on Thursday, Sept. 15, traveling beyond the borders of the Golden State the first time this far into their non-conference slate. The two have only been matched up once before in 2001, when the Bears beat the Las Vegas Rebels 3-1. UNLV’s performance this season has been mediocre, and after their loss against Cal they stand at a 2-6-0 overall score for the season.
The Bears played aggressively, controlling the ball throughout the match and taking a striking 24 shots against UNLV’s total of 5. Along with a steady offense, Cal boasted their rigid defense with goalkeeper Angelina Anderson’s skills and her freshman protege Teagan Wy. The two defensive powerhouses extended Cal’s shutout streak to three with the UNLV match, then even further to four against UPenn the following weekend.
There were two major goals scored in each half by Cal against UNLV. One by Mia Fontana was assisted by defender Ayo Oke, who switched it off to Fontana from the penalty box. The other, an impressive header by Ari Manrique that jump-started the last half, was rebounded off of Keely Roy’s corner kick. It was evident that the team was well-connected and found a rhythm as the game progressed. These were Manrique and Fontana’s first goals of the season, but not their last — Manrique went on to score another goal against UPenn.
The blue and gold did not falter at their next game against UPenn even in the midst of early rain on the Sunday afternoon at Edwards Stadium. Coming into the match, UPenn was notorious for being a steady opponent that relies heavily on their defense. The Quakers have gone 2-1-5 including this loss this fall season, where Cal ruined the fluid unbeaten streak they’ve maintained.
Penn, coming off a 1-1 tie against St. Mary’s the previous Thursday, opened the game out slow and calculated, but Cal was itching to begin contesting. The first half highlighted Penn’s rigid fortification but also Cal’s strong possession over the ball — Cal had the majority of corner kicks at five to Penn’s two. The rest of the first half held a lot of congestion for players on both sides of the field, with Cal mostly dominating ball control. Neither team has had more than a single goal scored on them at any games this season, and this was consistent as halftime came with no goals scored for either side.
The sky started to clear and the rains parted as they approached the second half. Defender Ayo Oke took her chance in the 50th minute, running up the sideline to pass off the ball to Manrique, who kicked it off her left foot to smoothly make her second goal of the season. Cal found the groove in their teamwork and continued to score two more goals: one by Jadyn Shinn, and the second by Midfielder Paige Metayer who easily deflected Manrique’s corner right past Penn’s goalkeeper Laurence Gladu.
Calended their non-conference slate with astonishing victory and only a first loss diminishing their nine game record. The Bears are now heading down to sunny Los Angeles for their game this Friday, Sept. 23 against the UCLA Bruins to kick off their conference season, where they hope to keep up high spirits with another win.