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Cal women survive a scare from Michigan, win 4-2

By Jared Green Daily Planet Staff
Monday September 03, 2001

In a game filled with quick momentum changes and several spectacular goals, the Cal Bears pulled out of a first-half funk to defeat Michigan, 4-2, in the final game of the Cal Invitational. 

Cal forward Kyla Sabo scored two goals, including the go-ahead score in the 69th minute, and had one assist in the game at Edwards Stadium. Forwards Laura Schott and Kassie Doubrava also scored for the Bears, while the Wolverines got both goals from Amy Sullivant. 

The Bears came out slowly to start the game, knocking the ball around the field nicely without getting into much of an attack. Sullivant gave them a jolt in the eighth minute, skipping past two Cal defenders and beating freshman goalkeeper Mallory Moser to open the scoring. The Wolverines were energized by taking the lead, and created several more opportunities in the next few minutes. Cal, on the other hand, was hitting through balls and flicking headers on to no one, sitting back on their heels. 

“Hopefully we learned a lesson in the first half today,” Cal head coach Kevin Boyd said after the game. “We need to create an atmosphere before games that gets us playing hard, and we didn’t have that today.” 

Doubrava nearly poached a goal in the 30th minute, going after a miskick by Michigan’s Vicky Whitley, but goalkeeper Bre Bennett just beat her to the ball. Schott got off a shot a minute later that Bennett saved easily, one of seven saves in the game. 

The Wolverines nearly went up two goals shortly after, as forward Abby Crumpton blew by Kathleen Cain for an open shot, but Moser dove onto the ball. 

The Bears finally broke through in the 25th minute, as midfielder Brittany Kirk put a cross high in the box. Schott took it on a bounce and volleyed it to the far post past Bennett to tie the score, and it looked like Cal was back in control. 

But Sullivant wasn’t ready to give up. She took a pass from Theresa Dwyer just outside the box and drove a spectacular shot into the top of the net just over Moser’s outstretched hands. 

Sullivant was taking advantage of a rare start up front on Sunday. The junior is usually the Wolverines’ left defender, a role in which she earned All-Big-10 honors last season. But Michigan coach Debbie Rademacher put her up front against the Bears to give her team more firepower, and it paid off. 

“We wanted to get her mobility and strength up there,” Rademacher said. “She really came through for us today.” 

Boyd’s team looked crestfallen after Sullivant’s second goal. They managed a few more shots on goal in the half, but were clearly out of kilter heading into the locker room. 

The Bears continued to possess the ball most of the time in the second half, moving the ball from side to side with ease, but it took a set play for them to tie the score again. They earned a corner kick with a quick counter-attack, and Doubrava put the ball up into the sun. Sabo appeared to be the only one to see it, and she hit a header into the net before anyone could react. 

It looked for a moment as if Sullivant had one more heroic moment up her sleeve, taking the ball past two defenders to the baseline and sliding it across the box just past Moser’s dive. But no Wolverines were in support, and the ball rolled merrily all the way through to the opposite sideline. 

Boyd brought in freshman forward Kacy Hornor to give the Bears more energy up front, but Hornor blew her first chance, hitting a Kirk cross well over an open goal from eight yards out. But the University High (San Francisco) product didn’t give up, and ended up creating the go-ahead goal a few minutes later. Taking the ball near midfield, the 5-foot-9 Hornor shed two Michigan defenders, juked past another and put Sabo through with a through pass. Sabo slid the ball just under Bennett with the outside of her right foot for her second goal of the game, and the Bears finally had a lead after 69 minutes of play. 

“Kacy has the ability to impact a game when she puts her mind to it,” Boyd said. “When she really wants a goal, she can go out and generate one.” 

Sabo nearly had a hat trick minutes later, as Hornor headed an Ashley Mueller cross to her, but Bre Bennett saved Sabo’s tepid header. 

The final nail in the Wolverines’ coffin came in the 84th minute. Schott used a nifty heel chip to blow past a defender, then slid the ball to Sabo in the left corner. When Sabo put the ball across the box, Doubrava managed to put the ball into the back of the net with a sliding shot. It was a beautiful example of what Boyd pictured when he decided to put three forwards on the field this year, using all three attackers to get an important goal. 

“The new system is more dynamic, and we create more opportunities up front,” Sabo said. “With teams concentrating on Laura so much this year, it gives the rest of us more chances to do something.”