Cal lacrosse continues to struggle with another winless weekend

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After Cal lacrosse finished up its season opener at home going 0-2, the team headed to Las Vegas over the Presidents Day weekend, taking on Fresno State and San Diego State. Unfortunately for the Bears, struggles continued, as they head home with another winless weekend, putting them at 0-4 on the season.

Fresno State was first on Cal’s schedule, and the Friday match came down to the final whistle as the Bears lost to the Bulldogs in a nail-biter, 14-15.

The Bears were able to get more shots up than the Bulldogs, edging them out 36-32, but Fresno State’s ability to capitalize on opportunities gave the team the one-goal victory.

One category Cal continued to struggle with is turnovers, as the Bears had 12 turnovers of their own in the match, opposed to Fresno State’s 10. Although the game was Cal’s best performance of the season in terms of holding on to the ball, the opposing team’s ability to consistently do better than the Bears in turnovers killed their shot at having quality possessions.

Cal sophomore Marisa Kuberra recorded four goals in the match and added on six draw controls. Her outstanding performance was surely a sign of light for the Bears, but it wasn’t enough to bring home the win.

Five other players scored for the Bears on the day, highlighted by redshirt junior Kirsten Swanson’s hat trick. Junior Susie Ropp and redshirt junior Eliza Christman each netted two goals of their own, and sophomore Cameron Gordon and senior Caroline Corzel each added one more.

The game came down to the final minutes, as Kuberra put in Cal’s 14th goal to tie the game up with 9:25 left to play. The Bears lost their momentum quickly, though, as it only took Bulldogs sophomore Dawson Chalifoux 19 seconds to answer back with a goal of her own.

The teams then had a defensive battle for the remaining nine minutes of the match, as no more goals were scored during the remainder of the game. The Bears had to be ready to bounce back fast, though, as they took on San Diego State on Sunday, only two days later.

The teams matched up very closely in every statistical category, with the difference being once again the Bears’ inability to capitalize on opportunities. Cal only put in nine goals on 31 shots, whereas San Diego State was able to convert almost 40 percent of its shots.

Swanson had her second hat trick of the weekend for Cal, putting in three goals once again. Her strong performance for the Bears so far this season is encouraging for the team moving forward.

Turnovers were once again a major issue for the Bears, as they surrendered the ball to the Aztecs 22 times. The most embarrassing part about the turnovers in this affair was that only five of the Bears’ turnovers were caused by the Aztecs, meaning they had a whopping 17 unforced errors in the match.

If the Bears want to be able to win going forward, the offense is going to have to correct this number, and the players have to give themselves better looks at the net.

The Bears’ next game will be Friday, as they will host UC Davis at California Memorial Stadium.

Jack Whaley covers lacrosse. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @_jackdouglas_.