Carrera-Garcia Goal Leads Cal Past Gonzaga
BERKELEY, Calif. – The No. 18 California Golden Bears (3-1-0) won their third consecutive match on Sunday afternoon, defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs (0-4-0) 1-0 at Edwards Stadium. Redshirt freshman forward Jose Carrera-Garcia scored the 76th minute winner, the first of his career. Redshirt senior goalkeeper Justin Taillole made three saves and earned his first shutout of the season, winning his third straight match for the Bears.
“The great sign today was that as the game went on, we played better and better,” head coach Kevin Grimes said on Sunday afternoon. “We struggled a bit in the first half, give Gonzaga credit because they were a tough team to break down. In the second half, we definitely looked more fluid and had contributions from a lot of different players on the day and ultimately that was the difference in the game.”
Through a scoreless first half, there were not many quality opportunities by either team. Cal’s best chance came off of a set piece in the 25th minute of play. Senior captain Seth Casiple played a ball into the area that picked out freshman defender Joshua Morton, who headed his shot on target, but it was turned away by Gonzaga goalkeeper Chris Lowrimore. The rebound fell to Cal freshman midfielder Ugo Rebecchini, but his shot from just inside the area went wide of the intended target.
The Bears seemed rejuvenated in the second half and nearly broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute. Sophomore midfielder Christian Thierjung sent in a well-placed cross that was searching out freshman forward Paul Salcedo, but Lowrimore was able to pick it out of danger just before Salcedo was able to connect, keeping the scoreline level for the time being.
The Bulldogs were not quite as fortunate just four minutes later. After a great run from midfield by Casiple, he found senior midfielder Connor Hallisey streaking down the line. Hallisey played in a hard, low cross that found Carrera-Garcia right on the penalty spot. The redshirt freshman calmly finished low into the far post for his first collegiate goal, and more importantly, the goal that proved to be the difference in the match.
“It is just what we practice every day; following your runs,” Carrera-Garcia said of his first career goal. “Connor obviously made a great run with a great cross and I saw the goalkeeper cheating a bit and I was able to have contact with it to put it into the back post.”
Cal nearly doubled their lead in the 81st minute when some positive play down the right side saw the ball in to Thierjung. The Dove Canyon, Calif. native let fly from a difficult angle, attempting to curl it into the far post, but Lowrimore was able to keep it out with a spectacular leaping save.
It did get a tad bit nervy towards the end for the Bears in the 84th minute when Gonzaga were pushing for an equalizer. Freshman defender Fischer Gallinger lofted a cross into space inside the Bears’ penalty area that found junior forward Connor Bevans in space. The La Habra Heights, Calif. native got his head to it, but his glancing header rolled wide of the target.
The Bears finished their weekend with a pair of victories and have now won three consecutive matches since dropping their opener at then No. 22 North Carolina. Cal returns to Goldman Field on Friday, Sept. 19 when they host No. 21 Delaware at 3:30 p.m. PT live on Pac-12 Networks, immediately following the women's game against Pacific.
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