Former Cal star Alex Morgan surprisingly was not in the starting lineup for the USA's must-win group-stage game against New Zealand on Saturday, and Morgan played just 16 minutes in the second half. However, she scored USA's fifth goal in the 87th minute to help the Americans to an important 6-1 victory.
The Americans now have one loss and one win and have erased the goals-against deficit that came with the 3-0 upset loss to Sweden in their opening game. Still, the Americans were far from perfect against New Zealand.
Two former Ca players -- Daisy Cleveley and Betsy Hassett -- were in the starting lineup for New Zealand, and Hassett scored the only goal for New Zealand, which suffered its second loss without a win in Group G.
The Americans also got goals from Rose Lavelle, Lindsey Horan and Christen Press and also two own goals to help USA bounce back in a big way after having its 44-game unbeaten streak halted by Sweden.
The Americans' final group-stage game is against Australia on Tuesday (5 p.m. Tokyo time, 4 a.m. Eastern time, 1 a.m. Pacific time)
Lavelle got U.S. Women's National Team off to the great start after nine minutes after she received a through ball from Tobin Heath and scored the goal to give the U.S. a lead it never lost.
Just before halftime, Horan scored on a header to make it 2-0.
USWNT got a third goal after 63 minutes on an own goal when Abby Erceg headed the ball into her own goal.
Hassett then produced New Zealand's only goal to make it 3-1.
But Press and Morgan scored for the Americans to make it 5-1. Morgan scored her first goal of this Olympics on her only shot attempt of the game.
Here is Morgan's goal:
Morgan was not a starter in her customary striker spot as Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd, who came off the bench against Sweden, got the start at forward spots against New Zealand.
"I still think we have a lot to give," Lloyd said after the game, according to ESPN. "This is just the start. It was a good response, good result, good goals. We can always learn, we can always get better, but this is a start in the right direction."
The U.S. team had four goals waved off as a result of offside calls in the first half.
Highlights of the USA-New Zealand match:
Other results involving Cal athletes: Kohler advances in rowing
---Former Golden Bears rower Kara Kohler, who is representing the United States, advanced to the women's single scull A/B semifinal by finishing second in her quarterfinal heat. The top three finishers in each heat advance.
Another Cal alumnus, Gennaro di Mauro, who is representing Italy, advanced to the men's single-scull A/B semifinal by finishing third in his heat, with the top three moving on. He finished more than 15 seconds behind the heat winner, but it doesn't matter since he finished a little more than three seconds ahead of the fourth-place finisher.
---Ex-Cal standout Roser Tarrago scored three goals to help Spain to a lopsided 29-4 victory over South Africa in a preliminary-round women's water polo game. It was the largest winning margin in the history of women's water polo at the Olympics and the most goals scored by a women's water polo team at the Olympics.
Current Cal standout Emma Wright and ex-Cal star Kindred Paul both played for Canada, but neither scored in the Canadians' 8-5 water polo loss to Australia.
---Former Golden Bears tennis player Ben McLachlan and partner Kei Nishikori recorded a first-round doubles win for Japan, defeating Portugal's Joao Sousa and Pedro Sousa, 6-1, 6-4.
---Ex-Golden Bear Farida Osman, representing Egypt, placed eighth in her heat of the women's 100 butterfly and will not advance.
Cal's Camille Cheng swam a leg for Hong Kong in the women's 4x100 freestyle relay, but Hong Kong finished seventh in its heat and won't be advancing.
Cover photo of Alex Morgan and Christen Press is by Jack Gruber, USA TODAY Network