BERKELEY, CA September 22, 2013 – The College of Charleston men’s soccer team’s upset bid of No. 4 California was thwarted in a 3-1 result on Goldman Field at Edwards Stadium on Sunday evening.
Xavier Rajpaul (Port of Spain, Trinidad) scored his team-high second goal of the year to get the Cougars (1-5 overall) back in the game after falling in a 3-0 hole, but the effort would ultimately fall short.
All four of the game’s goals came in a 19-minute window of the first half.
“Today was a difficult game against a good opponent in Cal,” said CofC head coach Ralph Lundy. “We didn’t start the game like we needed to and must improve in this area. We’ve had some tough results but I think these tests will have prepared us as we get into conference play.”
The first came in the 12th minute when Christian Dean and Stefano Bonomo strung passes together to put Steve Birnbaum in prime position to cash in on his fifth of the season. Dean threaded the defense with a through-ball to Bonomo who played it Birnbaum for a short-range goal.
In the 20th, Alec Sundly played a long curling pass down the wing and Bonomo ran onto it to lead to the second goal.
Moments later, Adan Noel (La Brea, Trinidad) took CofC’s first shot attempt when he bent a threatening ball over the defensive wall but Golden Bear goalkeeper Justin Taillole was up to the task of keeping the ball out of the net.
The next three minutes saw CofC control the possession game and create three quality chances, but two shot attempts by Jake Currie (Sheffield, England) and a third from Troy Peterson (Federal Way, Wash.) were off the mark.
In the 28th minute, however, it was Cal which once again found the net when Omid Jalali created a turnover moments after checking into the match then dribbled into the scoring area to stretch the lead to 3-0.
The Cougars picked up their goal in the 31st minute after Ike Crook (Federal Way, Wash.) ripped a shot which was stifled by Taillole, but Cal was unable to completely clear the rebound and Tucker Coons (Alpharetta, Ga.) and Peterson cleverly worked the ball to Rajpaul for the goal. Both earned assists on the play.
The Cougars will return home and regroup for their in-conference debut in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Cougars begin the CAA era on Saturday, Sept. 28 against UNC Wilmington with kickoff slated for 7 p.m. at Patriots Point.