BERKELEY, Calif. – The No. 18 California Golden Bears (2-1-0) opened their 2014 home schedule with a bang on Friday, defeating the visiting Cleveland State Vikings (2-3-0) 6-1 at Edwards Stadium. Senior forward Stefano Bonomo led the way with his first career hat-trick and an assist, while fellow senior Connor Hallisey added a pair of goals and assists as well. Redshirt freshman Matt Chasman tacked on the sixth for the Bears, scoring the first goal of his collegiate career. Six goals marks the most goals scored by the Bears in head coach Kevin Grimes’ 15-season tenure and the first time a Cal team has done so in exactly 17 years. The Bears, led at that time by Mark Mallon, beat then-No.15 Delaware 6-0, on Sept. 12, 1997.
“Today was a great start to the home schedule,” Grimes said on Friday afternoon. “Cleveland State is a very well-coached team and you can see that in their cohesion and togetherness. They’re a very difficult team to break down, so we had to be at our best today in order to get the result that we did.”
Cal opened the scoring in the 11th minute when freshman defender Joshua Morton played a ball down the line for Hallisey. The senior then was able to pick out Bonomo in the area with a low cross that was hammered home past a helpless Nick Ciraldo.
Bonomo doubled his tally just eight minutes later when Hallisey found redshirt freshman Jose Carrera-Garcia in the area. Bonomo was lurking across the face of goal, and was able to coolly deposit his shot into the far post to put the Bears ahead 2-0 just inside of 20 minutes.
The Bears began the second half with the same attacking fervor, adding to their advantage in the 59th minute when Bonomo dispossessed a Cleveland State defender, sending him in one-on-one with Ciraldo. Instead of going for his hat-trick, the Hillsborough, Calif. native maneuvered around the goalkeeper and unselfishly laid the ball off to an oncoming Hallisey, who hit the back of the net from close range.
Bonomo was not to be denied of his hat-trick, however, as he was on the doorstep when captain Seth Casiple’s laser from 20-yards out was saved. Bonomo was able to tap in the rebound to push Cal to a 4-0 lead in the 66thminute, marking the second consecutive match in which the Bears scored four or more goals.
Just one minute later, Hallisey benefitted from a turnover deep in Cleveland State’s defensive third and finished with his second of the match to make it 5-0.
The Golden Bears added a sixth when Chasman stepped up to the penalty spot in search of his first collegiate goal. Ciraldo made a big save on the initial effort, but Chasman was able to finish off of his own rebound to nudge the Bears lead to 6-0.
Cleveland State was able to find the back of the net in the 90th minute when captain Mike Matlock received a pass from Alvaro Pichardo in front of goal to beat the Cal goalkeeper, Alex Mangels to bring the final score to 6-1.
The Bears return to Goldman Field on Sunday at 1 p.m. PT when they host the Gonzaga Bulldogs live on the Pac-12 Networks, as part of a double-header with Cal women's soccer, who are hosting Santa Clara at 3:30 p.m., also on Pac-12 Networks.