On a senior day in which six players were honored for their contributions to the No. 21 Washington men’s soccer team, 570 fans watched the home squad use three goals in seven minutes late in the second half to secure a 3-0 victory in a rematch with No. 17 California.
The first half was characterized once again by the lack of quality opportunities at goal for either team. Washington had a decisive 11-3 advantage in shots, but only three shots for the Huskies (10-5-1, 3-3-1 Pac-12) were on goal. The rest were either taken amidst heavy pressure from the defense of the Golden Bears (9-6-0, 4-4-0 Pac-12), or were taken from outside the box and sailed high.
Maybe the best chances for the UW to get on the board in the opening period came from redshirt junior forward Kyle Coffee in the 21st minute. One of six players honored for senior day, he had two point-blank opportunities at goal. The first one was saved by Cal sophomore goalkeeper Drake Callender, and the second one was blocked by Golden Bears defenders.
In the 54th minute, the Golden Bears got their first golden chance of the contest. After senior defender Garret Jackson was awarded a yellow card just outside of Washington’s box, senior forward Jose Carrera-Garcia came up for the short free kick, reminiscent of the game the two teams played last week. But unlike Carrera-Garcia’s shot in that game, this attempt sailed just wide of the left corner of the goal.
In the 66th minute, Washington had a great chance at goal off a corner kick by sophomore midfielder Handwalla Bwana. The ball came in and junior midfielder Corban Anderson skied for the ball, but his header went just wide.
Cal quickly came back down the other end and whipped a high ball into the air, sophomore goalkeeper Bryce Logan punched the ball straight up into the air, and then the ball caromed to Carrera-Garcia, whose point-blank attempt was blocked by the Washington defense to quell the danger.
In the 76th minute, the Huskies finally broke through, and chaos started along with it. Cal freshman defender Christopher Gray came off the field to the trainer to pull something out of his eye. Golden Bears players kept yelling at the sidelines, claiming it was an injury and telling the officials to stop the game. Despite their pleas, the game continued, and freshman midfielder Blake Bodily took a shot on goal which was saved, but on the deflection the ball found Coffee, who tapped it in to give the UW the lead.
This goal was quickly followed up in 78th minute, when Callender punched the ball straight up in the air in the box, and redshirt sophomore midfielder Ryan Degroot came charging in for the header to score his first goal of the season.
“We’ve been knocking on the door, and sometimes things don’t go your way, and all of a sudden when they do it rains it pours,” head coach Jamie Clark said. “I felt like our attitude was good, and our substitutes brought great energy.”
The Dawgs then scored their third goal in the 82nd minute when redshirt sophomore midfielder Joey Parish made a run with the ball down the right side of the field, and put in a beautiful ground cross to Coffee, who scored his second goal and gave the Dawgs a 3-0 lead and effectively salted the match away.
“It feels like [Coffee] is coming back into form,” Clark said. “If you said to me that we would have 10 wins with him injured most of the way, I would have said no way because he’s so important to us, and if he can be healthy down the stretch, we’re gonna be awfully tough.”
Cal head coach Kevin Grimes continued to yell at the fourth official on the sideline for the remainder of the game, as the match was fading from their grasp before their eyes.
After appearing in his first career game Thursday against Stanford, Logan made his first career start Sunday. Logan filled in for starting goalkeeper, sophomore Saif Kerawala after he was shown a red card against the Cardinal, automatically disqualifying him from Sunday’s game. He recorded two saves in his first start, did not allow any goals, and kept Cal’s offense at bay, setting up UW’s unconscious scoring run.
“Bryce’s performance was great and it was gutsy,” Clark said. “He had to be nervewracked, but he did everything right. He made safe decisions, and he’s one of those guys that everyone in the locker room roots for, they love him. You always want to say good things happen to good people, and they did tonight.”
Reach reporter Chris Angkico at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @chrisangkico