For the Cal women’s lacrosse team (3-6), spring break did not include a sunny beach resort in Baja California. Instead, it was a rough trip east and a pair of crippling losses to two very strong opponents.
On Saturday, after losing to Cornell on Wednesday and despite what seemed to be a solid start, the Bears fell 18-3 to Temple (8-2) in one of their worst losses of the season. The game started with a save by Cal freshman goalie Jenny Wilkens and a goal by junior attacker Elizabeth Pellechi, but the Bears were ultimately unable to prevent the Owls from dominating offensively.
After scoring against the Owls, Cal’s top scorers continue to be team leaders on offense. Pellechi has 15 for the entire season while sophomore midfielder Chloe Landry has 14. Sophomore midfielder Parker Garrett scored as well, notching her second goal of the season.
Temple responded to Cal’s score with six of its own, all within a span of about 12 minutes. The Bears succeeded in getting one more goal during the half, but they were unable to stop the Owls from increasing their lead even more. At the end of the half, Cal was down by nine points. The second half saw even less scoring success for the Bears. While they scored only one additional goal, Temple scored seven more.
Bolstering Temple’s victory was its superior offense. The Owls made almost three times as many shots as Cal did, with 35 to the Bears’ 13. The shot attempt differential, even greater in the first half than in the second, was a source of Temple’s explosive lead. The Owls’ domination of draw control — they won 16 draws to Cal’s six — likely added to their lead as well. For the Bears, this statistic is reminiscent of earlier games this season, in which their opponents repeatedly proved to be more aggressive than them at the start of each play.
Furthermore, Temple’s notably fewer fouls may have significantly impacted the results as well. Cal had 26 fouls to the Owls’ 12, which translated into 10 free shot attempts, which Temple converted into five goals.
The Owls’ defense contributed to Bears’ defeat as well. When Cal had the ball, it was primarily unable to turn its possession into goals for two reasons: Either the opposing defenders caused a turnover, or the goalie saved the shots from going into the net. Temple goalie Jaqi Kakalecik had nine saves.
Kakalecik, however, was not the only goalkeeper with an impressive performance. Even though Wilkens’ team was unable to add another victory to its record, the Bears’ freshman goalie prevented 10 shots from becoming scores. This defensive execution made Saturday her fourth game in which she has had 10 or more saves. This season, she has yet to to record fewer than eight in a game.
With this loss, Cal completes nonconference play. For the remainder of the season, it will only compete against other MPSF teams, and its record from these matchups will determine its standing in the MPSF tournament at Stanford from April 28 through May 1. The Bears are currently ranked sixth out of 10 teams.
Sarah Goldzweig covers lacrosse. Contact her at [email protected]