The only goal of Sunday’s Cal-Texas A&M women’s soccer game came off of an Aggie foot, but the Bears got the 1-0 victory at Edwards Stadium.
Texas A&M defender Shannon Labhart scored an own goal in the 50th minute to give Cal a split of the weekend’s games against top-10 teams. The Bears fell to Texas, 2-1, on Friday.
Labhart’s flub was a result of a nicely placed pass by Cal’s Kassie Doubrava and some high-speed pressure by freshman forward Tracy Hamm, who was racing Labhart for the ball. As A&M goalkeeper Kati Jo Spisak came out to challenge, Labhart dove to try and divert the ball. She succeeded, but only in sliding the ball into her own net.
“One more step and I would have put the ball in the net, but she kicked it in for me,” Hamm said. “She was so close to the goal, she didn’t have an angle to get it away.”
Although the Aggies outshot the Bears 10-6, the home team had better offensive chances, especially in the second half. Hamm had two opportunities to score goals of her own after the own goal but mishit both shots past open nets. Freshman Dania Cabello also had a good shot in front of the net but put it over.
“If you look at the shots, it looks like (the Aggies) were better,” Cal head coach Kevin Boyd said. “But we had good chances, including two sitters that we missed entirely.”
Gaining a split with No. 10 Texas and No. 3 Texas A&M was a decent result for the 11th-ranked Bears, especially since they were missing top scorer Laura Schott, who is out with a knee injury. Schott may be available for next weekend’s games against Santa Clara and St. Mary’s.
Boyd chose to start junior Sani Post in goal rather than freshman Ashley Sulprizio, who had started the Bears’ first three games. Post, a transfer from Notre Dame, is less athletic than Sulprizio but has better field presence and is more vocal than the younger player. Post didn’t have to make any difficult saves, but she came out strong on some through balls and kept the defense in order.
“Sani is outstanding in her communication and organization, and we decided to go with the experience today,” Boyd said. “We wanted to have an organized back line and not give up any one-on-ones, and we did that.”
Boyd wanted the Texas schools to give his team a serious test early in the season, and he felt his players came through despite the absence of Schott. the Bears have made four straight postseason tournaments but have lost in the opening round each time.
“I felt like last weekend were teams we had to beat to get into the playoffs,” he said. “But if we do get into the playoffs, it’s this type of team we’ll have to beat once we’re there.”
The Bears close out a five-game homestand with a match against No. 14 Santa Clara on Friday. The match will kick off at 4:30 p.m. at Edwards Stadium. Cal then travels to St. Mary’s on Sunday for a noon kickoff.