Cal lacrosse ends its season with a loss against Stanford

Rebecca Lee/File

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In its first conference tournament since 2013, the Cal lacrosse team (5-13) lost to Stanford (12-5) 19-5 to bring its 2017 season to an end. In their Thursday quarterfinals matchup, the Bears lost their footing and fell fast. They were not able to maintain any sort of drive forward while the Cardinal weaved through their defense and drowned sophomore goalie Jenny Wilkens in shots.

“It’s always tough when the season ends but we achieved a huge goal in getting to the MPSF,” said Cal head coach Brooke Eubanks. “I think now we know what it takes to get there and now we have to start focusing on what it will take to advance in the conference tournament.”

Cal started off strong, winning the first draw control and scoring in the opening minute of the game. It wasn’t long, however, before the tide began to turn. After another goal by the Bears, the Cardinal flipped a switch and scored eight goals before Cal could net another. The first half ended 11-3 in Stanford’s favor, a bad omen for the Bears.

Cal scored again in the first minute to open the second half, but it wasn’t enough to keep the energy flowing. The Cardinal retaliated with eight more goals, cementing their future in the semifinals while sentencing the Bears to a certain elimination.

The Bears seemed to struggle the most on shots. Stanford dominated Cal, taking 30 in the first half alone. The Cardinal added 16 more in the second half, totalling the Bears amount of shots for the entire game.

“I think going through the season, what I’m most proud of is that we are playing our best lacrosse at the end of the season and that’s what you hope for. That’s your goal,” Eubanks said. “We continued to improve, we stayed focused when things weren’t going our way and I think we not only developed as a team but our individual players developed a lot and progressed throughout the season so I think that’s a huge takeaway for us.”

On a more positive note, Cal had two players named to the all-MPSF team. This is the first time either has been named to a conference team, with junior Meredith Haggerty being named to the first team, and senior captain Jena Fritts being named to the second. And it is well-deserved, as Haggerty leads the team with an impressive 39 draw controls and 23 caused turnovers, and Fritts leads with 63 points, 46 goals and 17 assists.

“The senior class has left us a big hole that we are going to have to figure out how to fill,” Eubanks said. “They are leaders on the field, they are leaders off the field, and they are great lacrosse players, but more importantly they are really good people. They’ve helped us change the culture, and not only have they made us better for today but they’ve made us better for the future.”

Despite many one-goal losses and the disappointing end, the Bears pulled their way up in the conference rankings and completed their main goal of the season: to qualify for the MPSF tournament. Cal showed tremendous effort and in the end, it payed off. Looking forward, the Bears will be able to start their next season off on the right foot and set even higher goals to work towards.

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