Cal lacrosse stumped by Oregon’s first half run

Lianne Frick/File

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Cal holds possession of the ball, circling Oregon’s goal a few times early in the game. The team looks strong and cohesive so far, winning ground balls and collecting turnovers. Suddenly, senior captain Caroline Schlegel pushes through the crowd and scores her second goal of the game. The Bears now lead the game 3-2 with about 15 minutes remaining in the first half.

This was the last time Cal led the game, as Oregon (3-1) retaliated Schlegel’s goal with a 9-0 scoring run to complete the first half 11-3. The Ducks continued their run with two more goals at the beginning of the second half before the Bears could stop the bleeding. By the end of the game it was a saddening loss, 18-9, and a bad end to the weekend for Cal (0-2).

“Oregon has a lot of threats on attack and a lot of people who can score, and they did a good job of working together and putting the ball in the back of the net,” Cal head coach Brooke Eubanks said. “From our standpoint, we came up with a new gameplan on offense for this game and they were really able to execute it, but we just didn’t have the ball enough on our defensive end.”

The game began to move faster in the second half as soon as Oregon led 13-3, thanks to an NCAA rule that keeps the clock running at all times if a team is leading by 10 or more points. Cal wasn’t able to slow the clock down again until the last four minutes with a goal by freshman Susie Ropp to make the game 17-8.

“One of our freshman attackers, Susie Ropp, did a really great job of stepping up,” Eubanks said. “Not only was she a finisher herself and scored goals, but she was a feeder, hitting our senior captain Caroline Schlegel a couple times in the middle for a few goals. I think that good performance in a game is really going to help propel her for the rest of the season.”

This loss may be disheartening, but Cal will need to keep their heads up if it wants to seize either of their next two games, both on the road.

“Now that we’re are going into two nonconference games and playing some big east coast teams I think (this loss) lights a fire,” Eubanks said. “We are going to be able to focus on what we need to improve on. Last week we were able to focus on our offense and we definitely made the adjustment, and now we need to revisit the defense and the draw controls so this coming weekend we will be able to put all sides of the ball together.”

While Cal lost a crucial match, it might have found something better. They were able to bring the game to a less than 10-point differential with a strong burst of energy late in the second half after being down by 12 goals with only 10 minutes left.

“It’s hard to rebound in a game, especially by more than just a couple goals,” Eubanks said. “Really being able to switch the momentum onto our side, get some draws at the end of the game and put some goals in the back of the net helped with their confidence, and it probably made them realize we could’ve done it sooner.”
This type of motivation Cal found late in the game is exactly what it needs to push through these tough losses and find a win. Continuing a losing streak may not be fun, but with the mindset Cal ended this game with it may have brighter future.

Sophie Durham covers lacrosse. Contact her at [email protected].