There was a remarkable difference between the first and second halves of Sunday’s game against San Diego State (7-3). In the first, the Cal lacrosse team (2-8) fell short on its offensive opportunities and was unable to keep the Aztecs from scoring. In the second, the Bears looked like a new team and scored enough goals to take the lead.
But in the end, Cal fought hard but struggled for goals in its second conference game of the season, losing in overtime 14-13.
“I always say that pressure is a privilege, and that we coach and we play to be in these kinds of situations,” said Cal head coach Brooke Eubanks. “It ultimately is fun. It’s exciting to have the game on the line, to fight back and to have the chance to win. I told them to enjoy the moment and to rely on the skills that they had.”
The Bears had difficulty accomplishing anything in the first half. They shot 15 times, yet they only scored four goals. Cal also beat the Aztecs in draw controls, but it had 11 turnovers to lose possession.
In the second half, however, the Bears battled to make a comeback. While both teams maintained a strong defense throughout the game, Cal was able to penetrate San Diego State’s and score seven goals in a row to lead the game, 13-11, with only two minutes left on the clock. The Aztecs, down for the first time since the Bears scored the first goal of the match, managed to score two goals in the remaining time and force the game into overtime.
“There were definitely chunks of time when each team was having momentum during the game,” Eubanks said. “We would go on a run, SDSU would go on a run, and it was back and forth with momentum.”
In overtime, the rules are simple: first goal wins the game. There are six minutes allotted for each period of overtime, and the teams will switch sides at three minutes without a break. Each “half” is started with a draw control, allowing either team to win possession. Cal won both draw controls and managed to get off two shots before the Aztecs scored with less than three minutes remaining, ending the game.
“There were chunks of goals instead of one for one, so it was really kind of who could counter and who could keep their momentum longer,” Eubanks said. “Obviously we made a huge comeback in the second half and tied it up, then we went up by two and SDSU grabbed the momentum back. But it was a very intense, very hard-fought game.”
Cal and San Diego State played a very even match, tying for total ground balls (18), turnovers (20) and shots on goal (24). The Bears managed to win draw controls, 17-13, with eight different players, and the Aztecs barely edged Cal out on saves, 11-10. This uniformity was what pushed the close game into overtime and allowed the Aztecs to score the golden goal.
The Cal Bears will take on the Brown Bears (3-5) on Wednesday in San Diego. The last time the two teams faced off was in 2005, and Cal walked away with 10-9 win. Brown is the only remaining nonconference game for Cal, and while a win against it may boost team morale, the Bears need to focus on the upcoming conference games if they want to succeed in making the MPSF tournament.
Sophie Durham covers lacrosse. Contact her at [email protected]