California slowed down No. 1 Northwestern early in the game but couldn’t stop the five-time defending NCAA champion in a 17-3 loss to the Wildcats on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. The Golden Bears’ record fell to 0-3, while the Wildcats improved to 3-0 after the nonconference match. Vail Horn led Cal with two goals. Katrina Dowd led all players with six points and five goals. Shannon Smith scored five points and four goals for the Wildcats.
The Bears came out strong Sunday after falling behind early against Ohio State in their previous game, a rainy 19-5 loss on Feb. 26 in Berkeley. This time, Cal produced the first two shots of the game, from senior midfielder Alyse Kennedy and sophomore Lauren Johnson, before Northwestern’s Brooke Matthews scored at 4:27 into the first half.
Cal also collected six of the first eight draw controls. The Bears had a 12-10 advantage on draws for the game, including a 10-7 advantage in the first half.
“I thought we started out the game very well,” Cal head coach Theresa Sherry said. “The first six to eight minutes were pretty good. We fought. We were doing pretty well in the draw controls in the entire first half. We just had trouble hanging onto the ball. Especially when we first came out, I thought our defense did a solid job and even created a couple of turnovers.
Cal fell behind 3-1 at the 8:18 mark, with Horn, a sophomore midfielder, scoring Cal’s goal at 7:26.
The Bears still trailed 3-1 six minutes later. But then six different Northwestern players combined to score 11 goals in less than 14 minutes, from 14:42-28:32, to claim a big 14-1 advantage.
Kennedy scored her lone goal at 29:02, and Northwestern took a 14-2 lead into halftime.
“It was that transition pattern, holding onto the ball down in the attacking end and finishing the few opportunities that we had that gave us a lot of trouble,” Sherry added. “I was really happy in general with the approach that my team took today. They came out here and wanted to battle, and they didn’t worry about rankings. We talked a lot about the Oklahoma State men’s basketball upset last night of No. 1 Kansas and how we wanted to be the other upset this weekend. There was a lot more fight there today than there was there Friday. We’re making steps. We just really have to execute on the attacking end.”
A freely substituting Northwestern outscored Cal, 3-1, in the second half. Horn collected her second and the game’s last goal at 52:55 to make the final score 17-3.
Northwestern, which now holds a 0-7 lead in the all-time series with the Bears, outshot Cal, 29-13. Bears junior goalkeeper Allie Shropshire made eight saves in 60 minutes. Northwestern starter Brianne LoManto made six saves in a little less than 43 minutes of work.
Cal plays its next game in just two days, when the Bears host Davidson on Tuesday, March 2 at Memorial Stadium.
1 2 F Northwestern 14 3 17 California 2 1 3
Goals: Dowd, Katrina 5; Smith, Shannon 4; Spencer, Danielle 3; Russo, Jessica 2; Fitzgerald, Erin 1; Matthews, Brooke 1; Thornton, Taylor 1. Assists: Dowd, Katrina 1; Smith, Shannon 1.
Northwestern: Brianna LoManto, 6 saves, 2 GA, 42:22; Darby St. Claire-Barrie, 1 saves, 1 GA, 17:38. California: Allie Shropshire, 8 saves, 17 GA, 60:00.