It has been eight years since the Cal women’s lacrosse team has beaten No. 9 Stanford. And it has been even longer, 10 years, since the Bears have won a game against a ranked team. After the game Monday, however, which it lost 19-5, Cal (3-10, 1-5 MPSF) will have to wait another year to break either or both of those losing streaks.
The primary reason for Cal’s loss was simply its inability to match Stanford’s skill.
“Stanford is the No. 9-ranked team in the country so they are very good, well-balanced and they execute well all over the field,” said Cal head coach Brooke Eubanks. “They have a lot of threats on their attack who are good scorers. They executed well and had a good game.”
The Cardinal (10-2, 5-0) dominated early on, coming out of the first draw with possession and scoring a goal within the first 11 seconds of play. They did not give up their lead for the rest of the game. In the first half they scored 13 goals to the Bears’ three, ending it with seven unanswered. The second half saw less scoring from both teams, with six by Stanford and two by Cal.
The draw control that allowed the Cardinal to score their first goal was a trend that continued until the end of play as they secured 19 draws while the Bears only won six. Winning draws gives a team an advantage because it provides it with possessions that can easily translate into opportunities to shoot on goal and score.
On the other hand, Cal had a very unsuccessful scoring game. It only shot 11 times, whereas its opponents shot more than three times that, with 38. Aside from the Bears’ goals, only two necessitated a save by the goalie.
Cal’s leading goal scorers junior attacker Elizabeth Pellechi and sophomore midfielder Meredith Haggerty did not score in Monday’s game. This made it the first this season in which Pellechi has not scored a goal. Instead, the Bears saw scoring by assists leader junior attacker Jena Fritts, junior midfielder Caroline Schlegel, sophomore midfielder Melissa Rubin, freshman attacker Ashley Jones and senior attacker Brynn Gasparino. The goals by Jones and Gasparino were the players’ first for the season.
On the other side of the field, Cal’s senior goalie Helen Hansen made seven saves. Hansen has only started two games this year — the other being the game against Fresno State on April 3. The Bears’ usual starter, Jenny Wilkens, did not play in Monday’s game because of an injury she received in practice when a teammate hit her in the collar bone.
“I think she (Hansen) did a decent job but it is obviously hard when you are changing up the defense unit,” Eubanks said.
This weekend, the Bears travel to Colorado to continue MPSF play and look for their first road victory this season. Their first game is Friday at Denver (5-8, 2-4).The Pioneers are currently ranked seventh in the conference, and need to win this game in order to have a chance at the MPSF Tournament at Stanford later this month. Despite being ranked only one spot above the Bears, Denver remains a threat as it is historically a strong conference competitor.
Colorado (9-4, 4-2), who Cal plays Sunday, has done very well this year. Its performance this season has demonstrated that it will be tough competition not only this year but likely in future ones as well.
The Bears have very specific objectives going into this weekend.
“From a strategic standpoint, keeping the team mentality,” Eubanks said. “Defensively, playing as unit, supporting, sliding. And then on offense good, quick ball movement.”
Sarah Goldzweig covers lacrosse. Contact her at [email protected]