This weekend was full of personal bests and hat tricks, but despite these impressive feats, the Cal women’s lacrosse team couldn’t stop its continuing problem of draw controls. The Bears (1-3) won their first game of the season at Butler (0-4) on Friday, stopping their season-opening two-game losing streak. Despite the confidence that came from the win, the Bears ended their weekend with a tough loss at Ohio State (4-1). The Buckeyes beat Cal in overtime last season, and the Bears were looking for a favorable rematch, but it was not fated to be.
The difference between the two games? Cal head coach Brooke Eubanks said it all came back to draw controls.
“(Against Butler) we won the draw controls 18-9, which allowed our attack to have the ball a lot more this game, which made a big difference,” Eubanks said. “We played a good balanced attack; of the 19 points, nine people got some sort of point, which is important to me as a coach because it’s not just one or two people scoring all the goals.”
Friday’s exciting game against Butler delivered the Bears their first win of the season, 19-7. Cal started the game with a seven-goal streak, only allowing Butler to score its first goal with 20 minutes left in the first half. The Bears ended the half up 15-3, helped by the hat tricks of senior captain Jena Fritts, who actually finished the first half with four, and senior Elizabeth Pellechi.
The second half featured fewer goals but was no less dominated by the Bears. Fritts tallied two more goals, leading to a career-high of six goals and tying for second best in school single-game history. A second personal best came by way of Pellechi’s four goals, tied with her previous high. Junior Parker Garrett completed a hat trick, and junior Kate Mattimore scored the last goal of the game for Cal. Butler was able to score four goals in this half as well, shrinking the goal differential from 16 to 12 by the final whistle.
“We had 24 people get into the game today, which is great,” Eubanks said. “It’s always nice when people who don’t get as much experience get that opportunity and are able to get some game time experience.”
The loss Sunday, 14-8, cut the festivities short. But despite Ohio State’s strong five-goal lead, Cal fought hard and continued its accomplished weekend. Mattimore scored her first career hat trick and Fritts scored her second hat trick of the weekend, while junior Meredith Haggerty had a personal-best three assists. Sophomore goalkeeper Jenny Wilkens had her second double-digit save performance of the season with 14 saves.
“We definitely had some good pieces,” Eubanks said. “Both sides of the ball played pretty well, and we had a lot of opportunities on the offensive end that we just weren’t able to finish.
A lot of good things came from that game, but we also need to tighten some things up for the future.”
The continuing problem of turnovers and draw controls, which seemed to have been dealt with Friday, reappeared in Sunday’s game. The Bears had a total of 18 turnovers and only nine draw controls, while the Buckeyes had 14 and 15, respectively. The rest of Cal’s season depends on its ability to overcome these issues.