Cal lacrosse loses to Connecticut, falls to 1-7

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Lianne Frick/File

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The Cal lacrosse team lost once again Tuesday to Connecticut (3-4), extending its losing streak to five games. The Bears continue to dig themselves into a deeper hole, and at this point it seems as if they have no hands to climb out of it. Their record is 0-5 at home and 1-2 away, with the one win coming against Butler, a team in its first season.

In the first half, the Huskies controlled most of the game and easily scored four goals in four minutes to take a 5-1 lead. Toward the end of the half, Cal (1-7) picked up the pace. Despite many attempts to close the gap, the Bears ended the half down by five goals.

“The defense really rebounded well,” said Cal head coach Brooke Eubanks. “They were giving our attack opportunity to have the ball, have possession. Jenny (Wilkens) came up with some huge point-blank saves, which I thought she did a great job of.”

The Bears started the second half strong, and were able to score four goals, two of which were scored by redshirt freshman Kirsten Swanson to complete her hat trick. This surge of energy on attack, however, was not enough to keep the Huskies at bay. Connecticut scored six goals in the last seven minutes to close out the game, including a goal in the very last second, to end the game 17-8.

The Bears seemed to struggle with turnovers throughout the game, as the ball seemed to move from one end of the field to the other and back again before someone was able to take a shot. Of Cal’s 26 total turnovers, 11 of them were self-inflicted. In contrast, Connecticut had 16 turnovers, and only five of those were credited to the Bears.

“It seemed to be more of the defense coming up with the caused turnovers on both sides of the ball, so really it was limiting the opportunities that the attack had on both sides,” Eubanks said.

A of the few positives of the game were that Cal won more ground balls than the Huskies, 21-19, and the Bears tied them for draw controls, 13-13. Despite this effort, the deserved points weren’t enough to keep Cal from losing by nine goals.

“Something that we need to work on is just being able to finish on the offensive end,” Eubanks said. “Sometimes we had games where you don’t have opportunities and you don’t have the sets but we did, we had a lot of opportunities and we were just not able to find the open player.”

Cal plays its last home game of March on Thursday against Marquette (2-5). The Bears have only played Marquette once since the Golden Eagles’ inaugural season in 2013, where they lost 15-4. The Golden Eagles’ recent loss at Northwestern may open up an opportunity for the Bears to finally win a game, although Marquette has had more recovery time than the Bears.

While the Bears always seem to have positive takeaways from each game, they are still consistently losing and have yet to face their toughest competition of the season. Some of their conference opponents are currently ranked, including No. 4 Colorado and No. 5 USC, and Cal will play six of their eight conference games in a row to close their season. Without a win soon, the Bears will have a hard time staying positive and maintaining that confidence.

Sophie Durham covers lacrosse. Contact her at [email protected].