In what was perhaps the hottest day of the new year thus far, the Cats’ offense started out with an intensity aspiring to that of the unveiled sun. In the 4th minute, junior Lauren Pederson controlled the ball on the right side, eluded two defenders, and sent a cross that was just a bit too far for senior captain Kelli Keady’s outstretched leg. But the Cat attack would not be dissuaded. In the 11th minute, junior captain Emily Nedom dribbled out of traffic and sent a laser into the net from 30 yards out to give the Cats the early lead. Three minutes later, Keady found some room in the box and put in the Cats’ second goal. One possession later, Pederson outdueled the Los Altos defender to win a corner kick, which she tattooed toward the net, necessitating a diving save from the Eagles keeper.
The Eagles struck back, scoring on a redirected corner kick in the 16th minute, cutting the lead to 2–1. And then the lull set in, with neither team putting together a threatening offensive attack for over twenty minutes. Each team found one chance near the end of the half: Nedom had a free kick in the 39th minute that the Eagle keeper was able to corral, while Cat freshman goalkeeper Sahara Melinauskas made a running save as the first half came to a close.
The Cats took control in the second half, severely limiting opportunities for the Eagles, while getting several good chances. In the 49th minute, Nedom sent a free kick that the keeper had to dive to save. In the 58th minute, freshman Teagan Conklin launched a ball from the left side 35 yards out that sailed across the box and glanced off of the right post, careening back across the goal, but no Cat was able to put a foot on it. Two minutes later, Nedom sent a corner kick into the box that junior Niki Krockenberger fired into the left post. And in the 66th minute, Keady took the ball from the right half, dribbled to the middle, and took a shot that flew just a couple feet over the crossbar.
The Cats’ persistence was rewarded ten minutes later, when Keady sent a cross from the right corner that bounced off a couple of players before Krockenberger rolled it past the goalie and into the net. And with time nearly gone, Keady controlled the ball in the middle, quickly slipped past her defender and crossed over in front of the charging keeper to slide the ball into the goal, giving the Cats a 4–1 lead that held till the final whistle sounded.
The win brings the Cats’ league record to 4–1 (9–1–2 overall), keeping them in first place as they travel to Santa Clara on Friday to take on the Bruins, which will conclude the first half of league play.
Note: All times mentioned in this piece are approximate and should not be considered official.