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Utah Soccer Earns Draw with No. 23 Cal

Utes give No. 23 Cal all they can handle, leaving Berkeley with a 2-2 draw.

Utah's Avery Jenkins (11) battles Cal's Haley Lucas in the open field Friday in Berkley. The Utes pulled out a 2-2 draw with the No. 23 Golden Bears.
Utah's Avery Jenkins (11) battles Cal's Haley Lucas in the open field Friday in Berkley. The Utes pulled out a 2-2 draw with the No. 23 Golden Bears.
University of Utah Athletics

The Utes earned a draw on Friday afternoon in Berkeley giving the No. 23-ranked Cal Bears all they could handle. The Utes came out the aggressors and brought good energy to start the game. Katie Taylor had two chances very early in the game that were turned away before Megan Trabert was able to get a deflection off a corner past Cal goalkeeper Emily Boyd in the 28th minute.

"We had to dig deep today, mentally and physically," head coach Rich Manning said. "They were tested with the pace of the game. Cal is a good team and they bounced back and took a lead. So I'm proud of the performance to even things up and then we pushed and pushed for that winner."

Utah goalkeeper Lindsey Luke was in top form early between the pipes, making a couple saves against Cal's Grace Leer and Arielle Shipp. The Utes almost made it a 2-0 game but Boyd made a great save on a Janie Kearl shot to keep the Utes at one. Cal made a push for an equalizer before the half but were ultimately denied by Luke and the Utes defense as Utah headed into half up 1-0.

"Lindsey kept us in the game with her play in the first half," Manning said. "A lot of our players really had to dig deep, and I think that resolve will help us moving forward."

The second half was a different story to begin, as Cal lived up to their reputation as a second half team, scoring early in the 47th minute. Celeste Boureille managed to get on the end of a cross from teammate Indigo Gibson and slide the ball just to the right of a diving Luke to tie the game 1-1. Boureille continued to challenge the Utes all day as she was all over the field for the Golden Bears.

In the 59th minute, things began to look a little bleak for the Utes as Cal's Grace Leer made a run down the right side of the field, eluding a Utes defender before burying the ball in the top left corner of the net beyond the reach of Luke. It began to look like Cal might have their way in the second half, but the Utes made some adjustments and began bringing more pressure to try and force an equalizer of their own.

In the 72nd minute, the equalizer came. Avery Jenkins crossed the ball in front of the Cal goal left post. Katie Rigby was waiting and tried to one touch the ball, only to miss completely. Rigby kept her composure however, collecting the deflection off the Cal defender and flicking the ball to the right of an outstreched Boyd into the back of the net.

Neither team seemed satisfied leaving with a draw as they continued to battle. Utah had chances to win on two corners in the final moments of regular time but were unable to score. In overtime, the Utes were able to get a few more opportunites only to miss wide or high, while Cal's Boureille was able to get a shot off that was saved by Luke. When the final whistle blew at the end of the second overtime period, the score remained knotted at 2-2, and both teams took one point from the game.

The draw gives the Utes five points in the Pac-12 standings where they have a steep climb to catch conference leaders Stanford and UCLA, each with thirteen points. Cal sits in only a slightly better spot after this game with seven points. While a conference championship may seem a longshot, the Utes are still very much in the play to make it into the Women's College Cup, sitting at 38th in last week's RPI. Friday's draw against a Top 25 team will help bolster there resumé. With five games left there is still lots of soccer to play and plenty of points to be earned. Utah returns home where they are unbeaten this year for four games before ending the season at Colorado. Their next game is Friday against Washington at 7 p.m. at Utes field.