The Cal lacrosse team’s game Wednesday against Brown was an all-out brawl. Possessions went back and forth, along with the goals that piled up. The match, played in San Diego, was characterized by aggression, possession and a little bit of luck.
“(The players) are super resilient,” said Cal head coach Brooke Eubanks. “They never give up, and they are definitely focused on making adjustments, whether it’s a certain player we need to be more aware of on the other team or running a different type of defense.”
In the first half, Cal stayed cohesive and strong. Senior captain Jena Fritts put away a goal in the first minute to establish a lead for the Bears and set the competitive tone of the game. Brown quickly retaliated and scored two goals to take the lead. The game went back and forth until Cal was able to secure the lead and hold onto it until the end of the half, which ended 8-6.
The tide began to turn in the second half. The Brown Bears scored the final goal of the first half to gain confidence, and this emotion continued into the second. Despite Cal’s efforts, Brown began to battle back and leveled itself with Cal. From there, a struggle for the lead ensued and lasted the better part of the second half.
It wasn’t until Brown had a four-goal run to take the lead late in the half that the Bears’ aggression began to taper off. Cal had a late chance with freshman Noelani Murayama scoring a free position shot, her third goal of the season, to bring the game within one goal. Cal regained possession of the ball, but it wasn’t able to capitalize before the final whistle blew, ending the game at 14-13 for Brown.
“I think the positive thing is is that we always have a chance to win it,” Eubanks said. “It could be where the game gets away from us and we kind of give up, but that’s never the case. We are determined, we are hardworking and we always believe that we can do it.”
Fritts continues to be the go-to player on offense for Cal, tallying four goals and one assist against Brown. She now has 32 goals this season and 40 points, beating her total of 30 points from last year with six games remaining in the season.
“By being a senior captain, (Jena Fritts is) a leader out there,” Eubanks said. “Not only with goals and that kind of stuff but with her voice and being a leader by example. She is definitely able to step up big when we need it, and she does a good job of dishing it out when the time is right as well.”
Cal now must head into arguably its most difficult game this season with a loss, facing No. 10 USC in Los Angeles this Sunday and bringing its Southern California series to a close. The Bears have played the Trojans four times in their history, and Cal won the first game and lost the other three. In the last two games they’ve played, USC has outscored the Bears 33-7. With every conference loss, Cal gets further away from the MPSF tournament. Without a win Sunday, the Bears may be securing themselves a spot in the bottom of the table.
Sophie Durham covers lacrosse. Contact her at [email protected]