Sophomore Mike Muñoz scored a dramatic overtime goal to lift the Cal men’s soccer team to a 2-1 win over Washington on Sunday.
Muñoz took a cross from freshman forward Pieter Berger and nudged it off the right post and over the goal line in the 96th minute.
“Certain players, when the game is on the line, they want the ball and to make a difference,” Cal head coach Kevin Grimes said. “Mike is clearly one of those players.”
Sunday’s game-winner was Muñoz’s third golden goal of his Cal career, the only three such scores Cal has recorded in that time.
“It’s getting kind of old. It’s almost no fun anymore,” Muñoz joked. “But seriously, I totally whiffed on that ball. It went off the side of my foot because I was in a hurry, and it just went in off the post.”
Muñoz’s goal gave the Golden Bears (9-2-1 overall) their eighth straight win, tying a school record, as well as a 2-0 start in Pac-10 play after beating Oregon State, 5-0, on Friday. That’s a big improvement over last season, when Cal started with two losses in conference play.
The Bears took a 1-0 lead in the 74th minute. Freshman midfielder Nick Hatzke gathered the ball near midfield and made a run right down the middle of the field. All three Washington defenders dropped back with Cal’s forwards, leaving Hatzke an open shot from 25 yards out. Hatzke followed the advice of several of his bench-bound teammates and launched a missile of a shot into the upper right corner of the goal past Washington goalkeeper Daniel Waltman.
It was the first career goal from Hatzke, who has yet to start a game for Cal but has played in 11 of 12 games this season.
“We really have about 20 starters on this team,” Grimes said. “It makes us a better team when we have guys like Nick who can come off the bench and have a real impact on the game.”
Washington (3-5-3, 0-2) tied the game just three minutes later. C.J. Klaas launched a free kick from the left side into the Berkeley area, and freshman Kevin Murray managed to get a flick past Cal goalkeeper Josh Saunders to tie the game. It was just the eighth goal allowed by the Cal defense this season and just the fifth since a 3-0 loss to Cal State Northridge in the season opener.
“Our defense has been rock solid,” Grimes said. “They take pride in getting shutouts. That’s their goal every game.”
The Bears have scored at least two goals in each of their last six games, a scoring surge that has come at just the right time with Pac-10 play just starting. Muñoz said he has just done the easy part in scoring a team-high seven goals this season.
“I’ve just been getting great layoffs this season,” he said. “I’ve got the easy job out there.”