Berkeley - For the first time in its 107-year history, California claimed the No. 1 ranking in all three major polls this week, as Soccer America magazine, Soccer Times and TopDrawerSoccer.com moved the Golden Bears to the top spot. Cal is undefeated at 5-0-1 and will enter conference play October 3 against Oregon State.
In addition, Steve Birnbaum earned a spot on the CollegeSoccerNews.com Team of the Week for the second time this season, after his strong play in two wins at home. The defender scored his fourth goal of the year in 3-0 win over Colgate on Sept. 20 and netted his fifth goal of the year in a 3-1 win over the College of Charleston on Sept. 22. The Cal co-captain also marshaled a stingy defense that allowed just one goal over those two games.
Coach Kevin Grimes (now in his 14th season as head coach at Cal) says this may be his best team ever. Grimes has already claimed five Conference Coach of the Year awards (2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010) and has an outstanding 144-87-34 record with the Bears.
Bears Win 2-1 After Freshman Shinya Kadono Scored a Fantastic Goal in the 81st Minute
BERKELEY, Calif. – The California Golden Bears (3-1-0) defeated the UC Davis Aggies 2-1 at Goldman Field at Edwards Stadium in Berkeley. The Bears were buoyed by goals from redshirt sophomore forward Matt Chasman and freshman midfielder Shinya Kadono, who tallied in the second half. Kadono’s 81st minute blast pushed the lead at the time to 2-0, and Cal withstood a late charge by the visiting Aggies to hold on to the 2-1 victory. After seizing a two-goal lead, UC Davis pressed on, and cut the deficit in half just two minutes from time through senior midfielder Matt Weisenfarth, but the Bears were able to secure the three points, surviving the late Aggies flurry.
“It was a really good performance, especially in the second half where we were able to score two high quality goals,” head coach Kevin Grimes said on Friday night following the game. “UC Davis is a very good team and played all the way down to the last second. It was a real exciting match and they are going to have a very good season and really make a run for the Big West title this year.”
After convincing wins last week against Virginia Commonwealth (3-1) and Northeastern University (3-0), Cal was looking for a third victory in a row towards that title.
The Bears finally had their moment in the 73rd minute. Sophomore defender Ugo Rebecchini played a teasing ball through the six-yard box and picked out a charging Chasman, who finished at the back post to lift the Bears to a 1-0 advantage.
“We had some struggles in the first half,” Chasman said of the team’s performance. “On the goal, I tried to just tried to make sure I got to the back post with my run and I am not even sure what it hit, might have been my knee, but I’ll take it. We just kept working, and Shinya scored a great goal and this was a very good result for us. We just have to tune up a couple of things and we will work on tightening those up this coming week at training.”
Just eight minutes later, the Bears doubled their tally. Salcedo worked his way into the box and laid a ball off to Carrera-Garcia. The Ontario, California, native played a wonderfully weighted chip in behind the defense to Kadono, who took one touch off of his chest and blasted his shot into the net off of the underside of the crossbar.
“Paul laid off the ball pretty nicely to Jose, who found me at the far post,” Kadono said of his first collegiate goal. “He chipped it in over the defender and I just had to blast it into the goal. We won today, but still had some lessons to learn at the end of the game and next week we will work to improve those things as we move on to the next one.”
A two-goal lead is thought of to be the most dangerous to hold in soccer, and that proved to be the case tonight, as UC Davis pulled one back in the 88th minute of play. A long ball played forward glanced off of a California defender and right into the path of Weisenfarth, who made no mistake, finishing past a sprawling Alex Mangels to cut the lead in half. The Aggies fought for an equalizer late, but it was not to be, as Cal captured its third consecutive victory, 2-1.
California returns to action on Friday, Sept. 18 at 4:30 p.m. when it hosts Davidson and then welcomes San Francisco on Sunday, Sept. 20 at 2 p.m. at Edwards Stadium. Fans are encouraged to interact with @CalMensSoccer on Twitter during the matches and can stay up to date on statistics and live updates during the games.
Might as well share my secret for all these recent photos, there is a lot more I didn’t post for whoever wants to have at it or for anyone who really liked any of the old school photos you can buy prints right from the website: