Although the Cal lacrosse team made a comeback with five consecutive goals in the second half, the squad’s last-chance effort was not enough to give them the win, and the Bears fell to Oregon 14-11 in the MPSF semifinals.
This Friday at Cagan Stadium in Stanford, Calif., the Bears (8-8) lost a close match to the Ducks (13-4), the No. 1 seed in the MPSF tournament. Although Cal was trailing by seven with a quarter left in the game, the Bears managed to claw back to within two points of the Ducks with 2:01 remaining.
However, Oregon midfielder Jess Drummond notched the game’s final goal with two minutes left in the match, giving the Ducks a spot in the conference finals. Cal’s loss ended the season for the Bears, who cannot move on to the MPSF championships to clinch a berth into the NCAA play-in.
“I was thinking the entire time that this team won’t give up or stop fighting,” coach Ginger Miles said. “We continued to fight and continued to battle, but unfortunately we weren’t able to close the gap.”
At halftime, the Bears trailed by only two points. However, the Ducks forged their largest lead of the game by scoring the first five goals of the second half. Oregon’s run was capped by midfielder Shannon Propst with about 15 minutes left in the match.
After senior midfielder Emily Abbood stole the draw control with 13 minutes remaining, Cal surged on its own 5-0 run, with attackers Melissa Humphrey and Alexa Rozelle and midfielder Gaby Christman each netting goals throughout the last ten minutes of the game.
The Bears ultimately prevented the Ducks from scoring by causing several turnovers and picking up ground balls. By limiting its opponent, Cal cut the Ducks’ lead down to a two-point margin.
Abbood contributed five draw controls and caused three turnovers, while sophomore defender Teresa Li nabbed a game-high four ground balls.
However, Cal’s second-half comeback fell short, as the team could not take possession of the ball for long enough to make a shot in the last two minutes of the game.
The Bears lost another close match against Oregon earlier this year, when Cal was edged 10-9 on Feb. 26.
“The other game up in Oregon had a lot of fouls,” Miles said. “We came out here though and played differently than we did back in February. Unfortunately, we just didn’t get the result we wanted.”
This time around, the Bears played without top scorer Megan Takacs, who scored five goals in Cal’s earlier game with the Ducks.
Takacs injured her knee in Cal’s game against Vermont on April 12, and Cal has gone 0-3 in her absence. Even without Takacs, Cal prepared for its conference tournament game by cultivating a balanced attack.
“All season long we’ve worked really hard on sharing the ball on the attack, making sure we weren’t a one-woman show, knowing that injuries happen,” Miles said. “And we know that our best is as good as any team in this conference.”