Women's soccer: No. 17 California defeats No. 14 Oklahoma State behind Emily Boyd's 30th career shutout
BERKELEY – The California women's soccer team closed out the non-conference campaign in impressive fashion, knocking off 14th-ranked Oklahoma State 3-0 on Sunday afternoon at Edwards Stadium. The Golden Bears' offense came alive, scoring a season-high three goals as Mia Corbin, Guro Bergsvand, and Heather Walleigh tallied their first goals of the 2017 season. Cal (7-1-0) handed Oklahoma State (7-1-2) its first loss of the year and remains unbeaten in Berkeley this season.
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Defensively, the Golden Bears shut down the Cowgirls' high-powered offense, which entered the match averaging almost three goals per game on the season. Senior goalkeeper Emily Boyd notched her fourth shutout of the season to push her career total to 30, becoming just the eighth player in Pac-12 women's soccer history to reach the milestone. Boyd has four shutouts in her last five matches, including a 2-0 win over Oklahoma on Friday afternoon.
"This was our most measured performance of the year," said Cal head coach Neil McGuire, who was honored before the match for becoming the program's all-time wins leader. "I thought we were very good in possession, good in the build, and had good composure. Defensively, I thought we were very compact and very tough, winning first and second balls. We faced two very good teams this weekend. [Oklahoma's] Matt Potter and [Oklahoma State's] Colin Carmichael are two exceptional coaches and they came in ready to give us a battle, which they did. Overall, we're very pleased with the weekend."
Putting its perfect home record on the line against a Top-15 foe, Cal dictated the tempo of the game from the opening minutes. The Golden Bears outshot the Cowgirls 10-1 in the first 45 minutes and did not allow a shot on goal all game. Corner kicks were tied at 2-2 on the match.
After several threatening looks from distance by Luca Deza and Kelly Fitzgerald, the Golden Bears finally broke through in the closing seconds of the first half as Corbin scored her first goal of the season and the third of her Cal career. Freshman midfielder Kailee Giffordchased down a 50/50 ball in the box and slid a pass to Corbin, who buried it in the bottom left corner, giving the Golden Bears a 1-0 lead in the 45th minute. It was the first career assist for Gifford, who has appeared in seven games for Cal this season, making one start.
The Golden Bears quickly doubled their advantage coming out of the locker room, as Bergsvand found the back of the net in the 48thminute off a feed from Fitzgerald. This was Bergsvand's fourth career goal and her first since August 23, 2015, after missing the majority of the last two seasons due to injury.
Walleigh rounded out the scoring with a finish in the 82nd minute, tallying her second career goal as a Golden Bear. Deza picked up the ball in the midfield and found fellow freshman Emma Westin, who slipped the ball in behind the Cowgirls' backline. Walleigh curled her run and finished from inside the box, beating Oklahoma State goalkeeper Michela Ongaro. Ongaro finished the game with three saves for the Cowgirls, who saw their nine-game unbeaten streak come to an end.
"We had a really good week of practice," said Walleigh after the match. "A lot of good training and getting everyone on the same page. I think we really came together and turned a corner, and now we're ready to get after it in Pac-12 play. This a good build going into conference and I'm really excited."
The Bears open Pac-12 play next weekend in Seattle, taking on Washington at 7 p.m. PT on Saturday, September 23. Cal has won three of its last five meetings with Washington, including a 4-1 victory last year in Berkeley.
Saturday's match will be a homecoming for Boyd, a Seattle native. The 5'9" netminder was aggressive off her line all afternoon, cutting off through balls and challenging crosses from the Cowgirls' attackers. Cal's all-time leader with 30 career shutouts, Boyd broke the mark previously held by Maite Zabala '01, a member of the Cal Athletics Hall of Fame and Cal Women's Soccer Lair of Legends. Zabala recorded 24 clean sheets during her Cal career while also splitting time in an additional six shutouts for the Golden Bears. Boyd, a two-time Second Team All-Pac-12 selection, is also tied for the program single-season shutout mark, registering 11 clean sheets each of the last two seasons.