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Arizona soccer blanked by Cal in Berkeley despite favorable shot differential

Photo by Ryan Kelapire

Abi Kim and Angelina Anderson haunted the Wildcats on Halloween.

Kim created two goals and Anderson made a career-high 10 saves as the Golden Bears staved off Arizona 3-0 on Thursday afternoon in Berkeley. (Cal’s soccer field doesn’t have lights, so kickoff was at 1 p.m. local time.)

Kim’s second-half tallies helped the Bears pull away in a game that was much more competitive than the score indicates.

Arizona outshot Cal 19-7, putting Anderson under duress all match. The three-time Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week was up to the task, making several diving saves on the day.

The Wildcats fall to 10-5-1 overall and 4-4-1 in the Pac-12. Cal improves to 12-3-3 and 4-2-3, respectively.

Arizona was on the front foot in the first half, sending six shots on goal and one off the post.

Jada Talley was especially potent. She made a couple promising runs on the right flank and fired a shot from the left side that Anderson dove to knock away.

Talley and Brooke Wilson had four shots apiece. Jill Aguilera had three. Hannah Clifford had two, including one that clanged off the post in the 34th minute.

“They’re playing a system that’s challenging,” Cal coach Neil McGuire said at the half on Pac-12 Network. “A 3-4-3 against a 4-3-3, they have turned us kind of into a 4-5-1. We’ve got to hold the ball longer, switch the point of attack and get at their backline.”

Yet, it was Cal who grabbed the lead in the 21st minute when a corner kick was deflected toward the top of the box. Antoine Denae pounced on it and ripped a shot past Arizona goalkeeper Hope Hisey.

It was one of just four shots the Bears mustered in the first 45 minutes. Arizona center back Samantha Falasco made a terrific one-v-one tackle in the 11th minute to thwart a promising run by Kim.

“I thought it was a good first half, it was unfortunate we gave up that goal on the corner, but those things can happen,” Arizona coach Tony Amato said on Pac-12 Network. “We created a lot of chances.”

Kim made another run early in the 52nd minute and that time to she was able to beat Falasco and Hallie Pearson before slotting a shot inside the near post.

Kim forced the issue again in the 63rd minute, dashing ahead to collect a ball that was flicked ahead by a midfielder. Kim was in lockstep with Pearson and the pressure led to an own goal.

Kendyll Humphreys replaced Hisey in net in the 79th minute, her first appearance Sept. 21 vs. TCU.

No such changes were necessary for Cal. Anderson stopped five shots in the second half to preserve the shutout.

Arizona heads to Palo Alto on Sunday to battle No. 2 Stanford. The Cardinal (16-1, 8-0) have won 10 in a row and boast a 28-2 goal differential in conference play.

The Wildcats entered the week 28th in RPI, so a loss to 33rd-ranked Cal will likely knock them down a spot or two, but maybe only temporarily.

A loss to Stanford could actually move Arizona back up since the Cardinal are No. 1 in RPI, a metric that takes opponent winning percentage into account.

The top 32 teams host the first round of the NCAA Tournament.