Beginning strong but ending in disappointing fashion, No. 24 Cal added another loss to its record this past Sunday, losing 2-1 to No. 22 Washington.
The Bears were set to face both Washington and Washington State this weekend before Washington State was forced to cancel the matchup. The cancellation was not its first — WSU’s games against Arizona and Arizona State were also canceled by the Cougars due to their lacking the required minimum number of athletes for competition because of COVID-19 protocol.
Washington headed to the pitch with an immaculate record, boasting a strong defensive as well as offensive line. Prior to the matchup, the Huskies stood 4-0-2, only tying with Colorado and Arizona State. Following the loss, Cal fell from fourth in Pac-12 to seventh. A Colorado 2-1 before securing a victory against Utah 1-0 in the previous week didn’t help.
The Bears began the game with a bang; star midfielder Emma Westin knocked a shot into the left corner of the goal, far from the goalkeeper’s hands, in the seventh minute.
As Cal headed into halftime, spirits were high and confidence growing as the Bears led 1-0. Yet, the confidence exhibited by the team after the goal was short lived as Washington tied the match with a well-placed curler from Huskies midfielder Ameera Hussen in the 66th minute. Cal tried to regain composure in the next fifteen minutes, desperately trying to fend off Washington’s attacks. Cal made efforts to counterattack, but Cal’s attack could not get up the field fast enough. Finally, the Huskies ended up securing their victory against the Bears when senior midfielder Sianna Siemonsma scored in the 83rd minute.
The second-half box score was an accurate depiction of the final 45 minutes. Washington outshot Cal 7-3, and all three of the Bears’ shots came in the 60th minute. The Huskies remained strong and steady, their defensive line impenetrable as they did not allow a single shot-on-goal in the final 30 minutes of the match. Even Westin, Cal’s top goal-scorer after scoring her third goal this season in the first half, could not find a way through Washington’s ironclad defense.
“It’s a tough loss,” Westin said, “I thought that we played well for the majority of the game but every team in Pac-12 is good. So in order for us to win these types of games we need to clean up the details and improve in front of goal.”
The Huskies are undefeated against the Bears in their last three matchups and are only one win away from tying their longest winning streak against Cal, which occurred between 200 and 2004.
The Bears are now set to face Stanford on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Because the match will be considered a nonconference rivalry match, it will not affect conference standings. Stanford beat Washington 0-1, two days prior to its matchup against Cal, so the Bears will have to rekindle their beginning-of-the-season spark if they want to come close to beating Stanford. The Huskies have added the Bears to their list of conquests once again — will the Cardinal do the same?
Maria Khan covers women’s soccer. Contact her at email@example.com.