Card controls ball, steals tilt in Cal’s regular season finale

Anna Vignet/Senior Staff
Midfielder Emily Abbood was one of four seniors honored in Cal's game against Stanford on Friday.

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There is no shot clock in college lacrosse.

But if there was, Cal may have been able to win its last game of the regular season against the Cardinal.

On Friday evening in Witter Field, the Bears (8-7, 4-3 in the MPSF) lost a back-and-forth battle to Stanford (6-9, 4-2) in their last conference game of the year. After Stanford took possession of the ball for seven straight minutes, the Cardinal scored the winning goal to give them a 9-8 win.

With about seven minutes left in the match, Cal midfielder Paige Gasparino notched a free-position shot to tie the game at eight. At that point, the victory was up for grabs.

However, after a scrambled faceoff, Stanford took possession, and the squad nonchalantly passed the ball around for more than six minutes while the Bears desperately tried to tip the ball out of their opponents’ stick. Finally, with 24 seconds left in the second half, midfielder Emilie Boeri raced from the eight-meter arc towards the cage and swiftly flung the ball past Cal goalie Megan McGinnis for the winning goal.

Because the Bears could not cause a turnover to give them the possession, Stanford had control over the ball for the majority of the game. The players were consistently at the Cardinal’s end of the field, and Stanford was able to hold on to the ball for at least two minutes before nabbing all of its goals.

The Bears had a different offensive strategy. When Cal gained possession, the squad made rapid passes and quickly shot the ball past Stanford’s goalie Lyndsey Munoz. Because Cal had the advantage in speed, it was able to keep up with Stanford until the last minute of play, when the Cardinal’s ball possession ran out the clock.

Gasparino led Cal with a game-high three goals, while midfielders Vail Horn and Amelia Burke and attackers Alexa Rozelle and Melissa Humphrey all notched goals of their own.

Both Cal and Stanford have already clinched berths to the MPSF Tournament, which runs April 27-29. The Cardinal’s victory means the squad will snag the third seed in the tournament as long as it defeats St. Mary’s this Sunday.

However, the loss does not bode well for Cal’s semifinal game against Oregon. The Ducks are the top seed in the MPSF standings and the only team that has not lost any conference games. In addition, the Bears will not have attacker Megan Takacs — the top scorer in the nation — who is out for the season with an injury.

Prior to the match, Cal honored its four seniors — Emily Abbood, Tara Arolla, Tori Harrison and Vail Horn — who all played their last regular-season game at Berkeley.

“They’re an incredible group of seniors,” coach Ginger Miles said. “They’ve always been that group that’s kept us together, kept us motivated, kept us focused, kept us pushing towards our goals.”