Texas (3-2) was shocked. All 11 Longhorns on the pitch stood befuddled in their box.
Sophomore midfielder Katie Glenn had fouled California midfielder Emma Fletcher 20 yards out in front of the goal in the 68th minute, resulting in a free kick for the No. 19 Golden Bears (4-1).
But before Texas got lined up to defend the free kick, California forward Ifeoma Onumonu restarted play quickly and fired a shot into the net. Longhorn players and coaches appeared to question the officials over whether or not play should’ve been halted. But the goal proved to be the decider in the Golden Bears’ 1–0 win over the Longhorns, who had won three straight games coming into the matchup.
“I think that’s a great learning experience,” head coach Angela Kelly said. “We’re definitely going to teach off of that. Cal’s a good team. They created an opportunity, and we’re going to make sure that a situation like that doesn’t happen again.”
The Longhorns refused to make any excuses or place blame on the officials after the match.
“It’s a quick restart, but that’s just something we need to be on our toes for,” senior midfielder Julia Dyche said.
The Golden Bears took control of the match early, pushing the ball downfield without resistance. Texas’ defense was on its heels for most of the opening 15 minutes, and at one point, Kelly stood on the sideline waving her arms in a downward motion, signaling to her team to settle down.
“I think after the first 15 minutes we really came alive and really got them on their heels and had them chasing us,” Dyche said. “I think that’s what we want to have from the very first whistle.”
The Longhorns eventually settled down and started to put together a few offensive series. One of Texas’ closest scoring chances came in the first half when freshman defender Emma Jett sent a cross into the box from the left wing near the end line. After a few deflections, the ball landed near the feet of sophomore forward Alexa Adams, right next to the goal. But the play caught Adams by surprise, and she sent a shot wide of the post.
California kept pressuring and set the pace again in the second half. Every time it appeared the Golden Bears would break through, Texas senior goalkeeper Paige Brown was there to make the stop. Brown, who transferred from Louisville in the offseason, made the second start of her career and finished the day with six saves.
“I feel definitely more connected now in the second game with the back line and the team,” Brown said. “They know what I’m going to do, and we know what we’re going to do with one another.”
Still, Brown’s goaltending and a number of Longhorn offensive pushes weren’t enough to steal a win from the Golden Bears.
Texas will be on the road next weekend for the first time this season as they look to bounce back from Sunday’s defeat. The Longhorns face Ohio State on Friday at 4 p.m. and Miami University on Sunday at noon.