Cal lacrosse closes nonconference play with three-game winning streak after 0-4 start

Karen Chow/Senior Staff

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Cal lacrosse went 2-0 over the weekend against George Washington and Mount St. Mary’s, giving the team a three-game winning streak to be proud of as they approach conference play.

The Bears first took on George Washington on Friday, pulling ahead early on with a 4-0 run to start the game. The team would never look back, holding its lead for the rest of the game against the Colonials.

The seven-point victory is Cal’s largest so far this season. The Bears had eight different goal-scorers in the game, including six points from sophomore Nikki Zaccaro who recorded two goals and four assists.

The Bears’ 4-0 run to start the game was topped later when they went on a 5-0 run in the final five minutes of the first half, with the team’s sixth goal in a row coming less than a minute into the second half. The Bears entered halftime with a seven-point lead and were unable to extend it in the second half, but a 15-8 victory is still a win that the team should be happy about.

In the Bears’ victory against the Colonials, Cal led in every major category except for ground balls (15-12) and turnovers (8-8). The dominance on the field was reflected in the stat sheet, especially on the offensive end where the Bears put up 35 shots in the game, finding the net in 15 of them.

After the victory at George Washington, Cal went on to face Mount St. Mary’s on Sunday. This game was a special one for the Bears, as the Bay Area team got the rare chance to play in the snow.

The unfamiliar conditions didn’t slow down the Bears though, as they fought hard to seal their third straight victory and finish nonconference play with a 3-4 record. The team was led by redshirt junior Kirsten Swanson’s four goals and one assist on the day.

The game was extremely close, with the two teams exchanging leads and the Mountaineers entering halftime with a two-goal lead. Mount St. Mary’s led 9-7 with 22 minutes left to play in the match.

This was the turning point for the Bears, as the team went on a 5-0 run to take a 12-9 lead over the Mountaineers. Cal would hold Mount St. Mary’s scoreless for the final 22 minutes of the game, securing a 12-9 victory against their final nonconference opponents.

“It was a total team effort,” Cal head coach Brooke Eubanks said. “The defense played lockdown defense and when they did take the shot, Jenny (Wilkens) came up with the big saves in the second half.”

Senior goalkeeper Jenny Wilkens had a season-high 13 saves against the Mountaineers. The scoreless final 22 minutes wouldn’t have been possible without a couple of amazing saves from her.

The Bears’ ability to close conference 3-4 after a four-game losing streak to start the season shows the relentlessness of the team and their ability to fight back. A three-game winning streak going into conference play means a lot for Cal.

“It’s definitely a huge confidence builder,” said Eubanks. “It’s a great way to end nonconference play after a poor start.”
After a strong finish to their nonconference schedule, Cal looks forward to its first conference opponent, Oregon, on Friday as they look to extend their winning streak to four games.

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