The Bears are tired of hearing the word “potential.”
Since the beginning of the season, the Cal lacrosse team has demonstrated its potential to win against tough-matched schools. The Bears easily stole their season opener against St. Mary’s. However, they fell short at the end of the second half in their next match against James Madison, and on Feb. 26, Cal (1-2, 1-1 in the MPSF) suffered a disappointing 10-9 conference loss to Oregon.
“Our team and our coaches recognize how well we play,” said midfielder Megan Takacs. “But for these past two games, in the last couple of minutes we’ve fallen apart — which is a bummer because a loss is a loss.”
More than just showing it can match up with top teams in the country, Cal wants to execute its plays successfully until the last minute of the game and finally earn that second win. This Thursday at 12 p.m., Cal will travel to Aztec Field in San Diego to play Detroit Mercy (1-3) for the first time in program history.
“We’ve never played Detroit before, and we don’t know anything about them,” Takacs said. “So this will be a good opportunity for us to be focused on playing Cal lacrosse.”
For the past week and a half, the Bears have been preparing for their next match by fixing their mental mistakes and fine-tuning small errors in decision-making. Cal has not only been practicing how to make the right passes and give the right feeds to open players, but also how to prevent turnovers not provoked by the other team.
“During this down time, we’ve been working to make sure we don’t make those same mistakes that keep leading to unforced turnovers,” said coach Ginger Miles. “Sometimes they’re errors we make because we’re tired, but a lot of it is in decision-making. It’s discipline with the ground balls and knowing how to move the ball up the field.”
In addition to its improved ball control, Cal has a sharp midfield attack in junior Melissa Humphrey, who leads the Bears with 12 points, and junior Megan Takacs, who ranks second with 10 points and paces the Bears with 10 goals. The Bears hope to finally execute and finish off a game with a win, starting with the Titans.
Instead of concentrating on their opponent, the Bears will focus on their own performance from start to finish, scrapping the notion of potential and establishing the idea of “execution.”
“We already have a couple of games that slipped away from us, but from this point forward we’re wiping the slate clean,” Miles said. “We’re going to make sure that at the end of the season, we’re not still talking about how much potential this team had, but how well we maximized that potential.”