Aug. 30, 2002
Columbus, Ohio - The Ohio State women's soccer team faced nationally ranked California in the season opener Friday night and held their own in a tightly contested 2-0 loss to the Golden Bears Friday night at the Cal Invite in Berkeley, California. OSU held the 15th ranked (NSCAA Poll) Bears to a scoreless stalemate for the fist 76 minutes until Cal midfielder Carly Fuller snapped the 0-0 tie striking a penalty kick past OSU senior goalie Jen Heaney (Cincinnati, Ohio) in the 77th minute of the contest. Fuller penetrated the OSU zone and got tangled up with senior defender Jen Miller (Centerville, Ohio) resulting in the penalty kick. Buckeye Head Coach Lori Walker explained the play, "The entire game was very bizarre with the penalty kick and the fact that one Cal player received a Red Card and an ejection from the game, but the penalty kick was a difficult call. Cal got into our box and Jen Miller got tangled up with one of their players and they got the call and the penalty kick"
The Buckeyes retaliated shortly thereafter, OSU mounted its best attack of the night approximately three minutes following the Cal score, advancing the ball through to senior forward Lindsay Eckles (Hilliard, Ohio) right in front of the Cal net, but she was unable to evade Cal goalkeeper Ashley Sulprizio as the score remained 1-0 in the Golden Bears favor.
Cal would add some insurance in the 85th minute as freshman midfielder Tracy Hamm netted her first collegiate goal from 25 yards out. The 2-0 Cal advantage proved to be insurmountable for OSU as the Buckeyes dropped just their second season opener in team history, falling to 6-2-2 in such games. Cal held a 13-8 shot advantage over the Buckeyes on the evening, but OSU made the most of their shots, firing six of the eight at the Golden Bear goal. Although her team wound up on the wrong side of the scoreboard, Coach Walker was pleased with her team's effort. "Cal is an excellent team. It was a good opening match for a lot of reasons. Cal plays a very quick and complicated system to defend." She described further, "I was pleased to have weathered the storm initially and head into halftime at 0-0. Ultimately, seeing that style of play will help us at the end of the season."
In the first game of the tournament, Purdue upset No. 16 St. Mary's (Calif.), 1-0. Forward Annette Kent provided the game's only goal in the 21st minute by converting on a 10-yard strike to the far post. The goal was unassisted.
OSU will next play St. Mary's on Sunday at 2 p.m. (PDT) on the final day of the 2002 Cal Invite at Edwards Field in Berkeley, California. St. Mary's is currently ranked 15th in the NSCAA/addidas 2002 preseason poll and 13th in the poll released by SoccerBuzz on August 21st. Cal will face Purdue in the tournament finale.