It wasn’t the prettiest game, but the Cal women’s soccer team pulled out a 2-0 win over Ohio State to open the season on Friday at Edwards Stadium.
Newcomers Carly Fuller and Tracy Hamm scored goals late in the second half for the Bears after senior striker Laura Schott was ejected from the game for drawing her second yellow card of the day.
Fuller, a senior transfer from Duke, scored on a penalty kick in the 77th minute. Hamm, a freshman from Campolindo High in Moraga, gave the Bears an insurance goal eight minutes later, and goalkeeper Ashley Sulprizio made six saves on the way to a shutout in her first Cal game.
Schott’s ejection rules her out of Sunday’s game against Purdue, so her run at the record books will be delayed for at least another week. Schott needs six goals to tie Joy Fawcett’s school record, and Fawcett’s record for total points is within reach as well.
Both of Schott’s yellow cards were questionable. The first came when she collided with Ohio State goalkeeper Anna Mitchell going for a ball in the first half, and the second came when Schott plowed over a Buckeye defender in the 69th minute. Schott got the ball in that instance, but the referee judged her challenge to be overly zealous and tossed her from the match.
Down a player, the Bears responded with their most inspired offense of the match. Midfielder Kim Yokers put Brittany Kirk behind the OSU defense almost immediately after the ejection, with Kirk sliding the ball just wide of the goal. Then defender Kim Stocklmeir played a beautiful long ball that Yokers corralled in the penalty area before being pushed down by Ohio State’s Jen Miller. Fuller slotted the ensuing penalty kick into the side netting for a 1-0 lead.
Fuller, who was a starter at Duke for three years and took a few penalty kicks for the Blue Devils, volunteered to convert Yokers’ effort.
“Coach (Kevin) Boyd just yelled over for somebody to take it,” Fuller said. “Kim was a little shaken up by the foul, so I just stepped up and took it.”
The Buckeyes nearly evened the score moments later as forward Colleen Hoban got behind the Cal defense, but she hit her shot almost directly at Sulprizio, who dove to her left and held onto the ball.
Hamm, a freshman winger from Campolindo High in Moraga, scored in the Bears’ exhibition game against University of San Francisco last week, and she continued her hot streak on Friday. She took a pass 15 yards outside the penalty area, dribbled past one defender and hit a spectacular shot to the left corner of the goal past a diving Mitchell.
Boyd said he was expecting Hamm to simply play the ball deep to a corner of the field to run out the clock, but Hamm is confident enough in her abilities to make a gamble worthwhile.
“I was just thinking that I only had to beat one person, and I thought I might as well try,” Hamm said.
One of Cal’s fastest players, Hamm said she isn’t surprised by her quick adjustment to the college game.
“I’ve been waiting to play at this level for so long,” she said. “My game is fast and strong, and that’s what the college game is about.”
The Bears victory didn’t come without a price, however. Schott won’t be the only starter missing Sunday’s game, as Stocklmeir was part of a violent collision just before the final whistle and had to leave the game with an injured collarbone. The senior defender will have X-rays done on the injury this weekend.