No. 7 Cal Blanks USF, 1-0, in Opener
SAN FRANCISCO – John Fitzpatrick scored No. 7 California’s first goal of the season to lead the Golden Bears to a 1-0 nonconference victory over San Francisco on a cold and foggy Friday night in both teams’ season opener at Negoesco Stadium. This also marked the first game of the Bay Area Classic for the Golden Bears (1-0-0) and Dons (0-1-0).
“It’s always a very tough game playing your local rivalries and local derbies like with USF,” Cal head coach Kevin Grimes said. “USF is in the same circumstances as we are – we both have a lot of new players. It was a great game tonight; both teams played very well, and we were very happy to come away with a 1-0 victory.”
At 21:29 in the first half, junior midfielder Tony Salciccia set up the goal, lofting the ball into the Dons’ penalty area to Fitzpatrick, a junior forward who headed past USF goalkeeper Brendan Roslund.
“It feels great,” Fitzpatrick said. “We were all pushing forward, imposing ourselves on the other team. Salciccia played a great ball. He beat his defender and whipped it far post, and I was just fortunate enough to get a head on it.”
The Bears started eight new players, including a pair of freshmen – defender Christian Dean and midfielder Seth Casiple and redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Robby Gogatz, who last started in 2009.
“All the young guys did exceptionally well,” Grimes said. “This is not an easy place to play. There are lots of fans right on top of you. There was a great atmosphere here tonight. The older guys are used to this, and it was great for the younger guys to experience a big crowd. Playing in a difficult environment and getting a good result was extra special for them tonight. That’s a great way to start your college career.”
The atmosphere included fog that obscured parts of the field especially in the second half.
“It feels great, but I’m just proud of all the guys,” Gogatz said. “It was a tough game”
Cal hits the road to play its next two games – nonconference matches vs. Northwestern on Sept. 1 and at Connecticut on Sept. 4. The Bears take on the Wildcats in Bridgeview, Ill., and battle the Huskies in Storrs, Conn. Cal completes the Bay Area Classic with its second and last game of the local invitational against Santa Clara on Sept. 16 in Berkeley.
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