Filling in the voids left by these important athletes will be difficult for both men’s swimming and women’s soccer.
While Morgan may get the slight advantage in this discussion after her strong play during this summer’s Women’s World Cup, we can’t forget the masterful performances that the all-world swimmer Adrian produced, culminating in Cal’s first NCAA men’s swimming title in 31 years.
Adrian has remained at the forefront of the Bears’ success during his four-year tenure. The 2008 Olympic gold medalist not only holds school records in the 50- (18.71), 100- (41.08) and 200-yard freestyle (1:32.98), but is also one of only two swimmers to be on all five school-record relays (teammate Graeme Moore, who also leaves, is the other).
During Cal’s 2011 championship run, Adrian won two individual events and contributed to three relay titles — most notably, the 400-free relay in which he took command of the last leg to secure the Bears’ NCAA crown.
But even with the departure of Adrian, not all is lost for David Durden’s club. Cal still has an abundance of talent, headlined by a national champion in junior Tom Shields, not to mention one of the top recruiting classes in the nation.
And while getting to the level of repeat-champion may prove difficult without its star swimmer, simply earning a winning record may be as demanding for a Morgan-less women’s soccer team, which was recently picked to finish sixth in the Pac-12.
With the loss of their biggest scoring threat, the Bears’ offense looks to take a major hit.
Tied for third all-time on the school’s scoring list, Morgan has been the go-to offensive player since her freshman year in which she recorded a team-high 18 points (including eight goals).
Last fall, Morgan tied her 2009 goal total of 14 while playing in nine fewer games as she was helping the U.S. National Team qualify for the World Cup. (Her stoppage-time goal against Italy helped earn the United States a Women’s World Cup berth, and she added a pair of spectacular scores in the event this summer).
Morgan is not the only Bear who represented his or her country at this summer’s games.
Junior Betsy Hassett showed off her talents for New Zealand’s national team. After finding the net only once in her first two years at Cal, she scored twice in last Saturday’s 4-1 exhibition win against Fresno. Still, she may not be the attacking machine needed to replace Morgan.
Even with her great numbers, Morgan led her team to only two NCAA second-round appearances. Those finishes will certainly get poorer without the solid offense she provided.
The Pick: Alex Morgan