For the Cal women’s lacrosse team, losing appears to be an increasingly difficult habit to break.
After playing two away games in Colorado this weekend, both losses with substantial point differentials, the Bears (3-12, 1-7 MPSF) continued to fail to end their season on a high note. They instead settled even more into an almost month-long losing streak. Once again, Cal struggled to score, its performance prominently featuring a crippled offense.
On Friday, the Bears lost to Denver (7-8, 4-4) 16-0, the Pioneers’ first shutout in 10 years. Denver scored eight unanswered goals in each half. Contributing to this large point differential was the number of shots taken by both teams. While Cal only managed to attempt nine, its opponent had 32.
Furthermore, the lack of ball control illustrated by lost draws and turnovers was likely to have significantly impacted the Bears’ inability to score even one point. Denver started each play stronger than the Bears did. Most notably, while Cal only had six draw controls, the Pioneers had twice that. Winning draw controls translates directly into possessions, which lead to more shot opportunities. Assisting Denver in gaining possessions were Cal’s 19 turnovers.
The offensive issues experienced by the Bears in Friday’s game lingered the rest of the weekend, also impacting Sunday’s game against Colorado (11-4, 6-2). The game, which Cal lost 16-4, was played in incessant snowfall. The Colorado women’s lacrosse team is very new and has only been around for three years. Sunday’s game was Colorado’s first victory against the Bears in its program’s history. It was also Colorado’s third consecutive win by more than 10 points.
The only player to score goals for the Bears was junior attacker Jena Fritts, the team’s season leader in assists. With this performance, she garnered her first hat trick as a Cal player.
Like in the previous game, the Bears had considerably fewer shots that their opponent. They had a total of eight in both halves, while the Buffs had more than four times that with 33 shot attempts. Cal also had many more turnovers than Colorado, providing the Buffs with more opportunities to shoot on goal and score than the Bears had.
Despite this weekend’s crushing losses, freshman goalie Jenny Wilkens continued to demonstrate the skill she has played with from the start of the season. She made more saves than any of the goalies her team faced, with nine against Denver and seven later in the weekend against Colorado.
On Wednesday, the Bears will play their final game, on the road and against neighboring Saint Mary’s.
The Gaels (0-12, 0-7) are currently the only team ranked below Cal in MPSF standings. Unlike the Bears, however, they have two more opportunities to come away with victories. Saint Mary’s has yet to win a game against a conference opponent, however, should it win both its final games, Cal will be the lowest ranked team in the conference.
The Gaels are the only MPSF team standing between a nine game losing streak for the Bears and the opportunity to improve on last season’s record of 3-13. A win would also mean tying Cal’s 2015 conference record of 2-7.
No matter the outcome, however, Cal cannot achieve the objective set by Cal head coach Brooke Eubanks before the start of the season.
“I think that we have the ability to upset and surprise a lot of teams this year,” Eubanks said. “We have a very tough schedule, and my goal would be to finish around .500, maybe even a little above. Given how we did last year I think that would be a good improvement.”
That improvement, however, can no longer be realized, and as a result, the main question going into Wednesday’s game is whether or not the Bears’ record will be any better at all.
Sarah Goldzweig covers lacrosse. Contact her at [email protected]