Women’s soccer breaks Cal shutout streak in 1-0 win

Sophomore midfielder Ashleigh Plumptre drives against Oregon State at McAlister Field. Plumptre scored the sole goal against Cal. Photo by Fanfu Shentu | Daily Trojan

The No. 5 women’s soccer team defeated No. 16 Cal 1-0 on Thursday afternoon at home, extending its Pac-12 winning streak to eight games.

Sophomore midfielder Ashleigh Plumptre scored early in the second half as the Trojans (14-1-1) shut out the Bears.

USC started strong, keeping possession throughout the opening minutes of the game. The first shot came for the Trojans in the fifth minute, when freshman midfielder Savannah DeMelo chopped a shot wide left.  The play resulted in a chance for senior midfielder Nicole Molen, with her header wide as well.    

The next golden opportunity came for the Trojans in the seventh minute with junior midfielder Leah Pruitt and senior forward Alex Anthony hooking up on a nice combination play, with Pruitt getting a shot on goal, but the effort was saved by the goalkeeper. 

Another chance occurred in the 17th minute when a strong run on the right wing of the field by Pruitt resulted in a cross into the penalty box, with the following shot by DeMelo wide right of the goal, with the cross a little behind her when she took her shot.

USC prevented leading Cal goal scorer sophomore striker Abi Kim from having much time on the ball early in the game, only allowing her touches in the midfield, far from the penalty box.

Cal’s best chance of the first half came in the 40th minute with a cross from redshirt senior midfielder Kelly Fitzgerald from the right wing to sophomore forward Maggie Bell, with the shot over the crossbar. 

At the end of the first half, USC led in shots 13-3 (5-1 on target), but was not able to make any change on the scoreboard. 

Head coach Keidane McAlpine suggested at halftime that in order to start applying more pressure on the Cal defense, USC needed to “be a little more composed around the box and take some chances” and “take risks from distance and see what happens.”

USC started the second half as it did the first, with Pruitt applying immediate pressure from the right wing. 

USC opened the scoring in the 53rd minute with a beautiful shot from sophomore midfielder Ashleigh Plumptre from outside the box — just what McAlpine wanted to happen in the second half — beating the goalkeeper to the roof of the net.  With that goal, Cal’s 517-minute shutout streak came to an end. 

An excellent chance came for Cal in the 85th minute from sophomore midfielder Mia Corbin, with her shot rattling the crossbar.

The Trojans ended the game outshooting the Bears 21-10 (5-1 on target), and keeping another clean sheet and putting in a solid performance.

USC will return on Sunday afternoon, hosting No. 1 Stanford.