Cal falls short in MPSF match against Boston

Based on their solid first half and most of their second half, the Bears should have won.

But between a powerful opposing defense and a lack of execution on the Bears’ end, the Cal lacrosse team simply could not find a way to finish its nonconference match with Boston on Wednesday. Although the Bears (3-3, 2-1 in the MPSF) managed to outscore the Terriers (2-4) both periods of the game, their several failed attempts at tallying points in the second half led to a disappointing 14-13 loss at Witter Field.

While the continuous downpour of rain was not the ideal weather situation to play in, Cal still attributes the mistakes it made to the team’s inability to capitalize on its possessions.

“I think we did a good job battling the elements today,” said coach Ginger Miles. “I would not blame our mistakes on the rain. It didn’t hurt us in the first half, so weather definitely wasn’t the problem.”

After the Bears jumped out to a strong start, with sophomore Paige Gasparino scoring the first goal less than a minute into the game, Cal and Boston played a back-and-forth contest right until the end of the period. The Terriers scored four of the next five goals, capping the run with junior attacker Daniel Etrasco’s strike to take a 4-2 lead.

The Bears then went on their own 5-0 run, with goals from five different players. Among those who scored were sophomore midfielder Hayley Olson, who was named to the MPSF All-Tournament Team last year, and junior attacker Melissa Humphrey, who tallied five points for the game — one goal and four assists. Junior attacker Megan Takacs, who earned the MPSF Player of the Week honors for her performance in San Diego, later converted an eight-meter goal halfway through the first period.

Cal had a 7-4 advantage — until Boston scored the next three goals to tie the score at 7-7 heading into halftime.

In the second half, Etrasco scored her fourth goal of the day 47 seconds in, giving the Terriers an 8-7 lead. But senior midfielder Emily Abbood and Takacs notched the next two goals, giving the Bears their last lead of the game.

“From the get-go we put together about 45 minutes of really great lacrosse,” said Miles. “But down the stretch, the same mental errors, the same mental lapses that we’ve been battling against all season long came back to bite us.”

Boston garnered the next five points to take a commanding 13-9 lead. Although Takacs and junior attacker Alexa Rozelle notched four more goals, cutting the lead to one at 14-13, the Terriers won the ensuing draw control and held on for the victory.

“There’s an expression in sports: ‘the wheels fell off,’” Miles said. “We had about a 15-minute lapse there, where we let BU climb back in it, and the girls just didn’t respond in the way we keep asking them to respond.”

While the Bears did not end up extending their two game winning streak from San Diego, they will continue to stick with the same plays they used in their previous matches against Detroit Mercy and San Diego State.

“That was a game we could’ve, should’ve won,” Miles said. “There’s nothing wrong with that game plan; the execution of those plays is what we’re gonna be focusing on our next week.”

On March 21, the Bears will face off against conference opponent Denver at Witter Field.