MALIBU, Calif. – Ariana Martinez scored the game-winning goal in 87th minute to lead California to a 1-0 win against Pepperdine in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday. The Golden Bears (16-5-0) advance to the second round to play the winner of the match between second-seeded San Diego State and Cal State Northridge. The Waves end their season with a 14-7-0 record.
Junior midfielder Lauren Battung crossed the ball into the box to Martinez who missed on her initial shot attempt. A defender tried to clear the ball, but Martinez beat her to it and fired past Roxanne Barker at 86:02. The Wave goalie made seven saves to stymie Cal to that point, but she couldn’t stop Martinez’s second goal and first game-winner of the season.
“I hit it in as hard as I could, and made sure it went in,” Martinez said. “That was my biggest and proudest goal at Cal. It was just a great moment.”
The Waves outshot Cal 6-5 and took a 4-0 corner-kick advantage in the first half.
The Waves created only two shots on goal in the first 45 minutes. The first one came at 1:12, when Anisa Guajardo’s header soared towards the near post, and Cal senior defender Amanda Glass headed it clear. The second came at 28:08, when Cal goalkeeper Emily Kruger made a save on a blast by forward Lynn Williams.
Those were Cal’s only saves of the match.
“Obviously with the wind this was going to be a game of two halves,” Cal head coach Neil McGuire said. “When you got the wind, you were going to have more success. It’s just so difficult to play with the wind in your face. I thought Pepperdine did a really nice job in the first half.
“In the second half, we felt it was important to put the ball on the floor because longer balls were going to run away from us. We tried to use our width to try and create some passing lanes. As a result our midfielders were able to get on the ball more than they were in the first half, and we were very pleased with that.”
Cal outshot the Waves 8-2 and won five corner kicks to none in the second half. Overall, Cal outshot Pepperdine 13-8 and had a 5-4 corner-kick advantage.