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BERKELEY'S NEWS • JANUARY 27, 2023

Year! Review! Read our 2022 Year in Retrospect Issue!

Power Rankings: No. 9 women's soccer

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JUNE 16, 2013

Editor’s Note: Over summer, the Daily Californian will be releasing its power rankings of Cal’s sports as decided by the Daily Cal sports staff. Stay tuned for No. 8 and No. 7 next week!

No matter how close you were, failure to meet your goals can only mean you came up short.

After this season, Cal women’s soccer learned that lesson firsthand.

The Bears have been stuck in the same situation for the past two years, unable to advance past the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Cal found itself frozen once again.

Although Cal had one of its most prolific regular seasons of recent memory, the Bears’ inability to advance past the second round of the NCAAs for the third year in a row makes its place in the power rankings an easy decision. To reinforce the decision, Cal ended its season in third place in the conference with a 16-6 record — behind UCLA and the Pac-12 leader, Stanford.

Playing in a win-or-go-home situation, San Diego State dropped Cal in the rankings and ruined the goal that it had been working so hard toward during the season.

After what looked like Cal’s opportunity to go to the third round of the NCAAs in a long time, the Aztecs scored a quick goal in the opening minutes of the second half and then a dagger in the closing minutes.

And with that closing goal, Cal’s season was over.

That goal put away any chance the Bears had at placing in the top spots in our power ranking.

The most disappointing point of this list for Cal is how close it came to being ranked three or four spots higher. Though the Bears still managed to crack the top 10, this place should be a letdown for a team full of so much promise.

This group had the ingredients to success written all over it: a posse of savvy seniors to lead the team, a strong freshman class — spearheaded by Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Ifeoma Onumonu — as well as a world class coach, Neil McGuire.

The Bears had one of their best regular seasons in their recent history with an eight-game win streak, only one road loss and a ranking of No. 10 to finish the season. Cal was one of the most formidable teams in the country, but at the end, they just didn’t have much to show for it.

Next year, though, the squad’s future is extremely uncertain. With the loss of four seniors, including Olympian Betsy Hassett, the Bears will lose a substantial amount of leadership as well as the seniors’ finesse and experience.

On the bright side, Cal is ushering in a new era of players. Onumonu was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and led the Bears with an impressive 11 goals — five more than Hassett, who was Cal’s next leading scorer. Whether or not next year’s team will surpass the current one will rest on Onumonu’s shoulders, as she is the future leader of this team.

The question next year will be whether Cal underclassmen can finally be the ones who step up and break through that second-round playoff barrier. If the younger players can accomplish the goal left behind for them, the future of the Bears will be bright.

Contact Johnny Zhang at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @thejohnnyzhang.
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JUNE 16, 2013