Cal women’s lacrosse seeks to halt 3-game losing skid

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The Cal women’s lacrosse team is looking to break its three-game losing streak this weekend against William and Mary (1-5). The last time Cal (1-5) and the Tribe met was in 2010, and No. 17 William and Mary beat Cal in a close 10-8 match. Neither team will be ranked when they meet again this Saturday, but the desperation of both teams trying to make their record respectable should make for a good game.

Cal lost to Michigan and St. Joseph’s this past weekend in a disappointing turn of events for the team, but there were some positive takeaways. The Bears seem to be overcoming their problem with draw controls, having won 10 draw controls against Michigan and 22 against St. Joseph’s. Cal was also able to bounce back from a bad loss Friday and put up a tough fight Sunday, showing it doesn’t stay down for long.

The Bears have shown their stamina by playing two-game weekends for the past two weeks and still finishing each weekend strong. But this upcoming week poses an rare situation for the Bears. They play William and Mary on Saturday and then they are hit with two games in the week: Connecticut on Tuesday and Marquette on Thursday. The short recovery period may prove to be detrimental to the team’s success.

“We typically are preparing for the Friday-Sunday games but we do play the following Tuesday and Thursday, so it’s weird,” said Cal head coach Brooke Eubanks. “Usually if we have a mid-week game it’s only one, so two in the middle of the week is really unusual. We have a lot of time now but we are going to have three games in six days.”

To ensure that this doesn’t happen, Eubanks hasn’t wasted any of this extra practice time.

“We did a little longer of a scouting report today and really tried to detail everything that William and Mary does,” Eubanks said. “Because we have the extra day we did a little more running drills; a lot of times we can’t do full-field stuff because we don’t want to tire out their legs, but since we had the extra time we did some more full-field simulation. We are working on our ride a little more, as well as the drive and pushing the fast break.”

William and Mary is having a similar season to Cal. The Tribe is also looking to break a three-game losing streak, and they are struggling to win a game in March, having lost to Virginia, 17-9, at home and then-No. 17 Stanford, 17-13, in Palo Alto. William and Mary put up a tough fight at Stanford, narrowly losing draw controls 17-15 and falling 19-11 on ground balls. Despite this, Stanford had a six-goal run that William and Mary just couldn’t recover from.

In the past few games, several Cal players have stepped up and made themselves known on the pitch in different ways.

“Sara Nolte, our senior captain defender, has just been playing out of her mind,” Eubanks said. “She is just off on defense and coming up with the draw controls, just overall playing with a lot of heart and passion.”

This is Nolte’s second season as captain. While defenders and their contributions are often overlooked, Nolte started every game and was responsible for marking the opponent’s top offensive player last season. This season, she has a total of eight draw controls, and against Michigan, Nolte won three ground balls and forced three turnovers.

Another influential player is junior Meredith Haggerty. She has won a total of five ground balls and 13 draw controls this season, including the seven she won against St. Joseph’s on Sunday.

“Meredith Haggerty, a junior midfielder, her defense has just come a really long way,” Eubanks said. “The last game she came up with seven draw controls, so she is just another person who is playing with a lot of passion and is able to light fires for other people as well.”

Even though they are coming off of a loss, the Bears still have a positive outlook for the weekend. Their two big challenges will be continuing to attack aggressively and capitalizing on their scoring opportunities, along with not tiring themselves out while they play three games in six days. As different players continue to shine, Cal stands a good chance to break its losing streak and come out of this weekend with a win.

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