Starter Bella Huther leaves Cal lacrosse team

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As the Cal women’s lacrosse team lined up on the field before its game against Longwood Tuesday night, one player was notably absent. And she is not coming back. Junior Bella Huther, a starting midfielder and attacker, has left the team.

“Bella Huther is no longer a member of our lacrosse program. This was a decision she reached on her own and we wish her the best of luck as she moves forward with her collegiate experience,” said Cal head coach Brooke Eubanks in a statement.

During the 2015 season, Huther was the Bears’ leading scorer with 34 goals and 43 points. She had similarly impressive stats her rookie season, in which she had 44 goals and 46 points. At the end of both years, she ranked in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation’s top 10 for goals.

The Cal coaching staff and Huther’s team members have been praising her since her freshman year. They all recognized the presence she brought to the field every game and the ferocity with which she played.

“Bella is one of the smartest attackers I have ever seen,” Eubanks said in a video released by Cal Athletics at the beginning of the 2015 season.

This year, she was expected to have impressive stats once again. The coaching staff felt strongly that she was a key part of their game and an important asset to the team.

“She is extremely difficult to mark,” Eubanks said before the Bears’ first game this year. “She is a great cutter, really deceptive and just has a knack for getting open.”

While Huther’s leaving is an unexpected obstacle, the Bears will not let it phase them or impede their progress, as demonstrated by their performance in their game Tuesday.

“I don’t think it will affect too much because we’ve always had a team mentality and wanted to have a balanced attack,” Eubanks said. “Our goals haven’t changed, our philosophy hasn’t changed, and we are moving forward.”

Sarah Goldzweig covers lacrosse. Contact her at [email protected]