March 30, 2012

Cal Pulls Away from Villanova in Second Half

from press release

VILLANOVA, Pa. - California outscored Villanova 5-1 in the second half to break open a tight game and beat the Wildcats, 10-6, on Friday night at Villanova Stadium. Five Golden Bears (5-5) scored and sophomore goalkeeper Megan McGinnis made six saves to preserve the nonconference victory over the Wildcats (2-7).

Cal junior attacker Megan Takacs and senior midfielder Vail Horn each scored a game-high three goals, while sophomore midfielder Paige Gasparino scored two goals and one assist. Junior attacker Melissa Humphrey tallied three assists to tie her three teammates with a game-high three points.

The Bears and Villanova were tied at halftime, 5-5. Takacs scored the game's first goal - assisted by Humphrey - at 2:41 to give Cal the early lead. But Villanova scored three of the next four goals to claim a 3-2 lead. Humphrey, assisted by Takacs, had scored Cal's second goal at 13:44.

The Bears went on a 3-0 run to forge ahead, 5-3, with senior midfielder Emily Abbood (at 15:24, assisted by Humphrey), Horn (at 17:39, assisted by Gasparino) and Gasparino (19:14) scoring.

But the hosts netted the last two goals of the first half (21:15 and 24:36) to knot the game heading into halftime.

"Even though the score was tied at half, we still clearly dominated ground balls and outshot them in the first half, but shot selections were off," Cal head coach Ginger Miles said. "At halftime we talked about shot selection, and then we made a lot of good adjustments and put the ball in the net."

Cal outshot 'Nova, 19-13, and had an 11-5 advantage in the first half, but Wildcat goalie Amanda Hirschfeld made eight of her 11 saves in the first 30 minutes to keep her team in the match.

In the second half, Cal outshot the Wildcats, 12-8, though Villanova only put three of their shots on goal in the last 30 minutes.

Takacs scored just 11 seconds into the half to give Cal a lead it never relinquished. Cal allowed just one goal - at 35:33 - and got goals from four Bears - Takacs, Gasparino (33:07), Abbood (36:06) and Horn (44:54 and 50:44) - in the second half to clinch its 10-6 win.

"It was a team effort," Miles said. "We got clutch goals when needed them. Defensively, we really started getting after the ball and got turnovers and McG made clutch saves. Overall, I was very impressed."

Cal ended its East Coast road trip with a 1-1 record, including a 15-5 loss at Navy on March 28.

The Bears return to the Golden State for their next game - an MPSF match-up with UC Davis on Wednesday, April 4, at 7 p.m. in Davis, Calif.

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