Cal 0 – 1 (Jackson 30′) Santa Clara
Sarah Jackson scored near the half-hour mark for Santa Clara with the club’s only shot on goal all afternoon, as the Broncos completed a smash and grab victory over Cal in Berkeley on Thursday. Jackson would net the decisive goal as she waved around a few defenders at the top of the box before hitting a shot beyond goalkeeper Emily Kruger at the left post. From then on, it was really the Andi Tostanoski show for Santa Clara, as the Broncos rookie netminder made nine saves to keep Cal off the board, an impressive display considering she had been shelled in the second half just a week earlier. The win wasn’t exactly a thing of beauty for the Broncos, but they likely didn’t care coming off a traumatic defeat at the hands of Stanford, with this also being a road game against talented opponent. The offense is probably just going to have to make do until Sofia Huerta and Julie Johnston get back, while the defense did well to tighten up and hold Cal off the board, though they did put a lot of shots on frame, which could be a worry with some tough opponents coming up. With that hard fixture out of the way, UC Riverside at home on Sunday should be winnable enough before a huge date at Notre Dame next week.
After last week’s fireworks, the Golden Bears came up firing blanks on this occasion, a theme that may have extended from last season’s second half, when Cal had problems scoring against the big teams at times. While Neil McGuire’s side can be happy that they controlled much of the game against the visiting Broncos, the lack of a cutting edge in front of goal in this one has to be frustrating to no end. Grace Leer, who had a hat trick just a game ago was held without a shot, only underlining some of the inconsistencies of the offense at the moment. The defense will have to be razor sharp on Sunday against Missouri, as it’s unlikely this squad can win a shootout with the high octane Tigers.
Dayton 2 (Mallon 3′, Campbell 110′) – 1 (Clark 67′) Boston University [aet]
A last gasp winner gave Dayton a priceless non-conference victory in front of a record crowd for the home side on Thursday evening. The Flyers would draw first blood early, as Alysha Mallon scored directly on a corner kick after BU goalkeeper Andrea Green, crowded out by players in the box, mistimed her jump, allowing the ball to sneak in at the back post. Dayton would dominate much of the first half, and the visitors were perhaps a little lucky to go into the break down by just a single goal. It was a tale of two halves though, as BU came out roaring in the second half, putting pressure on the Flyer goal before finally hitting paydirt in the sixty-seventh minute. The UD defense stood off Emma Clark for far too long, and the Terrier midfielder let loose with a speculative chip from just twenty-five yards out that Jordin Melchert was only able to palm into the back of her net. The two club’s would trade blows into the second half of extra time, where when it looked as if the match was heading towards a draw, Ashley Campbell struck off a set piece with less than a minute to play. Juliana Libertin’s corner kick was flicked on by Sarah Senoyuit, right into the path of Campbell who rose and thumped a header beyond Green to send a record crowd for the Flyers home happy. This was about as close to must have for Dayton as it gets thanks to their loss to Texas last week and a middling non-conference schedule the rest of the way. The Flyers jumped all over the Terriers early and really should have had more than one goal going into the break, with that lack of cutting edge proving costly as BU put them on their heels in the second half. Good teams find a way to persevere and win though, and Dayton did just that with a late set piece. The Flyer attack has looked well balanced thus far, and give a hat tip to Colleen Williams, who never came off the pitch for UD in attack. There’s no room for a letdown now though. Dayton will likely be favored in every game from here on out for the rest of the regular season, and Thursday might have been the first step towards being safely in range for an at-large bid.
Boston University probably has a lot more wiggle room for an at-large berth than Dayton does thanks to some big hitters still to come on the docket, but this one still has to really sting. The Terriers really had done enough in the second half and extra time to secure a draw but fell at the death. Though they may have turned it on after the first half and the game did almost go to a draw, BU still gave up a whole lot of shots, twenty-one and nine on goal to be specific. That’s probably a bit worrying with the likes of Boston College and Stanford still to play. A positive to take from this one is the continued emergence of Emma Clark, who scored a brilliant goal for the Terriers. The club will likely need her and her teammates to play at the top of their games on Sunday if they’re to stand a chance against a loaded Boston College club.