Top sports moments in 2015

Cal women’s swim wins NCAA National Championship

With a final score of 513 total points, a school record, the Cal women’s swim team won the NCAA Championship in March. Missy Franklin certainly left her legacy behind in her second and final season as a Bear, leading the team to two relay victories, winning the 200-yard individual medley and the 200-yard freestyle, and setting an American record in the event. Cal ran away with the title, with fellow swim powerhouse Georgia only securing 452 points. The championship was Cal’s fourth in seven years and marked a season where the Bears were given multiple awards for their performances, including NCAA Swimmer of the Year to Franklin and National Coach of the Year for head coach Teri McKeever.

– Alaina Getzenberg

Cal football is selected to first bowl game in four years

For the first time in four years, the Cal football team will be returning to a bowl game with a 7-5 record. The return to the postseason follows a year where junior quarterback Jared Goff led the offense to an average of 368.8 yards per game, ending the year as the fifth-best passing unit. Individually, Goff finished the year as the fifth-ranked passer in the country — totaling 4,252 yards on the year — and 12th in passing efficiency, averaging 156.4. The Bears’ defense also had a strong season overall: At one point, it was among the top teams in the country in interceptions, but the amount of turnovers dropped as the season progressed. Cal will play in the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 29 at 11 a.m. PT in Fort Worth, Texas against Air Force.

– Alaina Getzenberg

Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb join Cal men’s basketball

On April 13, Cal men’s basketball struck gold. Local 5-star recruit Ivan Rabb had whittled down his potential college suitors to UC Berkeley and Arizona, and by choosing the former, he created ripple effects that the program will likely enjoy for years.

When the Oakland product committed, a few things happened.

Some are easy to see. Prized Georgia forward Jaylen Brown, another 5-star recruit, forwent offers from schools that included Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina to join Rabb in the Bay Area. The signing of one hometown hero bore the fruits of many.

Some consequences are harder to spot. The Bears must now acknowledge that the successes they enjoy this season may inadvertently cause them to lose their two young stars to the NBA. Winning games, however, and showcasing Brown and Rabb’s talent, would promote the program as a prime locale for strong young players in the future. While Rabb and Brown may only share the court for one year, their presence may be felt in Haas Pavilion long after they’ve left.

– Austin Isaacsohn

Cal women’s basketball stars Reshanda Gray and Brittany Boyd get selected in WNBA Draft

After a successful season — finishing 25-10 overall and 13-5 in the Pac-12 — and getting the opportunity to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, the Cal women’s basketball team bid goodbye to two of its star players, guard Brittany Boyd and forward Reshanda Gray. The two Bears were drafted in the first and second rounds of the 2015 WNBA Draft, respectively. Boyd was selected ninth overall to the New York Liberty, where she played a total of 430 minutes in 30 games, scoring an average of 6.6 points per game and totaling 81 rebounds. Gray, on the other hand, was selected 16th overall by the Minnesota Lynx but was traded to the Atlanta Dream in the middle of the season in a multiplayer trade between the two squads.

– Alaina Getzenberg

Toni-Ann Williams posts program-record all-around score

In a season that saw many highs for the Cal women’s gymnastics team, including its second highest Pac-12 Championships total in school history that lead the team to a sixth-place finish, one thing shone a little bit brighter than the rest: Toni-Ann Williams.

Williams led the team all season long as a freshman, was voted Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year and was the only representative of the Bears to make it to the NCAA Championships. Of the records she broke, her performance against Oregon State on Feb. 13 stood out the most.

The freshman scored a program-record 39.700 all-around total in the Bears’ loss to the Beavers. Williams’ score included a 10.0 vault score that was the first for Cal on that event and only the second perfect 10 in school history.

Coming off a strong season, with Williams coming back even stronger, the Bears will only look to improve on last year’s success in the season to come.

 

– Alaina Getzenberg

Cal football defeats Texas after missed extra point (Sept. 19)

Coming into the matchup 2-0, the Cal football team faced Texas in Austin for the Bears’ third game of the season Sept. 19. They ended up coming away with a last-second win that they probably shouldn’t have won, allowing the Longhorns to come back after Cal was up 45-24 with only a quarter left to play. The Bears’ defense allowed the Texas offense to come within a point of the lead with just more than a minute to play, after Longhorns’ quarterback Jerrod Heard had a 45-yard touchdown run. Only needing an extra point to force the game into overtime, Texas kicker Nick Rose missed the attempt with pressure from Cal senior cornerback Darius White. And just like that, the Bears walked out of Texas with a shocking win on their way to a 5-0 record.

– Alaina Getzenberg

Cal women’s water polo defeats top-ranked Stanford

As the Cal women’s water polo team prepared to take on No. 1 Stanford in the semifinals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championship Tournament in April, it had one thing on its mind: retribution. Not just for the Bears’ two earlier losses to the Cardinal in the 2015 season, but because Cal had lost 40 straight games to Stanford, a streak that had spanned 15 years.

The Bears managed to finally put an end to this streak and won, 8-7, to advance to the tournament’s final game for the first time since 2011. Cal came out and played well from the jump, getting a quick 4-1 lead in the first quarter. The two teams mostly traded goals from there and even with a 3-1 fourth quarter advantage in goals for Stanford, the Bears managed to hold on, led by seven crucial saves from then-sophomore goalkeeper Madeline Trabucco. Their offensive effort was paced by then-freshman Carla Carrega and then-senior Kelly McKee, who had two goals apiece en route to giving Cal its first win against a top-three opponent in two seasons.

– Hooman Yazdanian

Cal baseball’s walk-off homer in Regional Semifinals of the NCAA Tournament

Finishing the season with 36 wins, the Cal baseball team had an impressive season and showed a lot of promise for the year to come. But there was one particular moment that will make its season one to be remembered.

In the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament, the Bears pulled off one of the most electrifying finishes in recent memory. Playing against Texas A&M at the Aggies’ home turf, Cal was attempting to pull off the upset to send it to the regional championship game and put it one win away from being one of the final 16 teams in the super regional portion of the tournament.

The game was tied, 1-1, going into extra innings, after an impressive pitching performance by the Bears’ starter Ryan Mason who threw for eight innings, allowing just one run on six hits and three strikeouts.

The win, however, came off a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 14th by outfielder Mitchell Kranson, giving Cal the victory and a celebration like no other. Despite losing the following game, ending their season, the Bears’ win is one that will be remembered.

– Alaina Getzenberg

 

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