Oregon soccer loses fourth straight in come-from-behind defeat to Cal

Oregon soccer went up 1-0 early against Cal on Sunday, but Bayley Bruner’s goal was not enough.

The Bears began an onslaught of late-game offensive press and control that propelled them victory, highlighted by the efforts of sophomore forward and Sweden international, Emma Westin, who contributed to both goals for Cal, scoring one, and assisting another.

Westin’s goal came off a deflected shot from sophomore midfielder Luca Deza, while her assist was a high-flying corner kick that dropped to the head of midfielder Anja Koehler.

“It’s not a game of momentum,” head coach Kat Mertz said. “It’s not a game of moments. This is a game of confidence.”

Cal’s come-from-behind performance ended Oregon’s hopes of just its third win over the Bears in 22 matchups. Bruner provided Ducks soccer (7-5-1, 1-4-0) a 1-0 lead that withstood for over 70 minutes, exhilarating a crowd of over 550 fans on the brisk Sunday afternoon at Papé Field.

The goal, however, was the only one for the Ducks in a tough 2-1 loss against the California Bears (5-7-1, 2-3-0 Pac-12).

“I thought Bayley Bruner played her heart out today. She was all over the place. And Emma did a great job for us too,” Mertz said. “Yeah, the goals that we didn’t put away sting. But we have to go back to work tomorrow.”

Surrounded by a sea of blue jerseys, Bruner collected a deflected, bouncing pass from junior midfielder Emma Eddy. With a powerful right-footed strike just prior to the seven-minute mark, Bruner nailed her shot into the top of Cal net.

Despite scoring, Bruner was disappointed with the game’s outcome.

“It stung,” she said. “We came out strong, but we just couldn’t battle it out for the full 90 minutes. If you don’t play every minute then these results can happen.”

Oregon and California fiight for the ball. Oregon Ducks Womens Soccer takes on UC Berkeley at Papé Field on Oct. 7, 2018. (Devin Roux/Emerald)

This is the fourth loss in a row for the Ducks, the most recent coming from an overtime battle on Thursday against the reigning NCAA champions and No. 1-ranked Stanford Cardinal.

After the initial offensive surge by the Ducks early in the first half, possession and control favored the Bears, but the Ducks defense held strong allowing only three shots on goal.

Oregon’s offense is still without its leading scorer, Marissa Everett, who sustained a hamstring injury in the Ducks’ loss to Washington. Mertz and Bruner acknowledged Everett’s importance but say that it is important for the team to learn to play without her, though she shouted words of encouragement to her team from the sideline throughout the game.

The Ducks now head back to the road to face 20th-ranked Colorado next weekend.

“I think the biggest message for us now is our attitude,” Mertz said. “We have to go back to work. The Pac-12 is so grueling. If you sit here and let one game beat you twice, you’re just going to keep digging a big hole for yourself that you can’t climb out.”

Follow Bryce Dole on Twitter @DoleBryce

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