Stockton, Calif. - Opening the 2012 regular season at home at Knoles Soccer Field, the Pacific women's soccer team suffered a 3-0 loss to Cal on Friday, August 17. The contest at Knoles Field was the Tigers' first regular season contest at their new home as Pacific moved from Stagg Memorial Stadium after the 2011 season.
Getting their first taste of real competition after weeks of preseason practice, the Tigers held strong against a pressing Golden Bears attack from much of the first half before a last minute strike broke the 44 minute stalemate. Playing the ball through the middle of the field, Cal was able to break through the Tigers' defense with a well placed ball to Celeste Boureille on the right side of Pacific's penalty area to set up the first goal. With the ball on her foot, Boureille was able to take one touch towards the center of the box and bend a shot over the outstretched hand of Pacific's starting keeper, Tashia Long, for the opening goal of the 2012 season. The goal at 43:45 in the first half was set up by Betsy Hassett, a member of the New Zealand national team.
The opening goal by Cal was the first of what would be three strikes against the Tigers as Hassett moved from the assist column to the goal column for the next two strikes. In the 55th minute, Hassett put herself into the scoring column as she took a ball on the leftside of the box from Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick and beat Pacific to the near post with a low burning shot. A little under 10 minutes later, Hassett struck again as she took a chipped ball from Rachel Mercik out of the air with a well-timed header, crossing the face of the goal to the right-post.
While Cal posted three goals in the contest, the Tigers were not without their chances in front of their home crowd as sophomore Mirella Mattos led the way with six shots, two on goal and another that just cleared the top of the cross bar from distance with Cal's keeper away from her line. Additionally, the Tigers had two shots cleared away from the line by the Bears' defenders during a scramble in front of the box as freshman Zarette Munoz-Aguilar nearly put the Tigers on the board in the first half of play.
Pacific's defense, led by seniors Lauren Olvera and Kortney Agdeppa and junior Brittni Beeman played solidly despite the three goals given up as the Tigers' faced 26 shots on the night from the Cal strikers. The defensive trio threw their bodies in the way throughout the night on the defensive end while also getting into the attack with deep crosses and long throw-ins.
The Tigers will be back in action on Friday, August 24 when they travel to take on San Francisco in a preview of future WCC contests. The game is scheduled for 3:00 pm at Negoesco Stadium.