Sitting on the bench may be one of the most frustrating experiences for an athlete, but Cal lacrosse’s bench seems to feed off of two powerful remedies: winning and Dr. Dre. As the Bears went off in the second half of their matchup with Robert Morris University, the bench could not stop dancing to “Still D.R.E.,” which played after almost every Cal goal.
By way of a team effort and an energized bench, the Bears defeated the Colonials, 12-7, improving to 4-2 on the year — their best season start since 2007.
The teamwork began with the antics of the bench, as each player was in almost perfect sync with the others. The players could be seen waving their sticks up and down after goals, yelling out the status of the shot clock and tirelessly cheering on their teammates.
“Our bench is awesome,” said redshirt sophomore Kirsten Swanson. “They have so much energy, and that is really contagious to the people on the field — we feed off of that. I’m super grateful. … It makes the difference in games.”
All that noise mixed with the home crowd made the sudden silence that hit Memorial Stadium with 8:50 remaining in the second half all the more stunning.
On the tail end of a defensive possession that withstood three free position shots, senior defender Alexandra Robertson streaked towards her opponents’ goal and, moments before releasing a shot, was shoved into the goalpost, sending a metallic clang that echoed into the stands.
But to everyone’s relief, Robertson limped off the field unassisted.
That sequence was likely the only unfavorable moment for the Bears in the entire second half, as they tallied six goals while only allowing one Colonial score. Cal fired 10 shots on goal and captured six ground balls, as compared to RMU’s five and two, respectively.
Based on the first half of play which concluded with the score tied at 6, the resulting margin of victory was unexpected. With the Bears and Colonials knotted at 2 early on, Cal soared to a three-goal run, but RMU answered with its own trio of goals, prompting Cal head coach Brooke Eubanks to call timeout.
After talking things over, the Bears looked refocused. On the first ensuing play, freshman midfielder Marisa Kuberra intercepted a Colonial pass out of the air, igniting the offense out into transition. Sophomore Susie Ropp took advantage, putting the Bears up, 6-5, ostensibly heading into the half.
The Colonials managed to sneak a goal in before the half ended, though, on a controversial note. Because of some officiating confusion, RMU had a chance to rake the ball into Cal’s goal a few seconds after the time had run out.
Heading into the locker room, Eubanks hashed out a set of impeccable adjustments that simply stumped the Colonials in the second half.
“Robert Morris is very good at driving, handling, slides. We really needed to break it down and get our body and feet in front the attacking players and not so much our sticks,” Eubanks said.