Bears win despite losing nation’s top scorer

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Although the Cal lacrosse team came out with a victory against Vermont on Thursday evening, the squad lost Megan Takacs, the country’s leading scorer, to injury.

Takacs fell to the ground after she injured herself shooting a goal near the middle of the second half in Cal’s 15-12 win at Virtue Field in Burlington, Vt. She was later carried off and did not play for the rest of the match.

Cal coach Ginger Miles said she doesn’t know if Takacs will be able to play in the squad’s remaining games.

However, that did not stop Takacs from scoring her fourth goal of the game and breaking one of Cal’s single-season records. The junior attacker now has 53 goals, surpassing the previous record of 49 that she shared with former Cal star Sarah Wheatley.

“All the teams put their best defender on her, and everybody knows who she is,” said Cal coach Ginger Miles. “But she’s done a really great job playing above it and finding ways to continue to put the ball in the back of the net.”

Cal (8-5, 4-2 in the MPSF) extended its three-game win streak to four after dominating its nonconference matchup against Vermont. The Bears and the Catamounts (8-6) played a back-and-forth contest for the majority of the first period. However, Cal continued to one-up its opponent into the second half, eventually coming out with a 15-12 victory.

“We’ve been in that kind of situation before, where we were just going back and forth,” Miles said. “But we’ve learned from our past missteps and mistakes, and we were able to set out with a lead and maintain it going into the last half of the game.”

With the score tied at 5, junior attacker Melissa Humphrey and midfielders Vail Horn and Teresa Li notched one goal each with about five minutes left in the first period. Although Vermont was able to net in an eight-meter goal, the Bears had an 8-6 advantage going into halftime.

From then on, the Bears stayed ahead of the Catamounts by at least a two-point margin for the rest of the match. At one point, Cal even had a four-point lead, when three different Bears — Takacs, Alexa Rozelle and Paige Gasparino — scored fast-break goals.

At the end of the second half, Cal took the final possession and held on for the last three minutes of the game. Even though the Bears had the opportunity to take an eight-meter shot, they did not want to risk losing the possession, choosing to let the clock wind down.

“We basically had a comfortable lead at the very end of the match,” Miles said. “We didn’t feel the need to score any more goals, so we just stretched out our players a little bit and kept passing the ball until the time ran out.”

With their victory against tough-matched Vermont, the Bears are looking to continue their streak against Boston College, who is ranked in the top 20 of the NCAA. By the end of their East coast trip, the Bears hope to be fully prepared — mentally and physically — for their final conference game against Stanford.

“Honestly, the teams on the East Coast are a little more physical, and they have the advantage by knowing how to play in cold weather,” Miles said. “But it’s good to be challenged, and it’s definitely great practice for us before our Stanford game.”