Cal lacrosse shows improvement in first conference games

Lacrosse player runs through the field as other players chase her.
Karen Chow /Senior Staff

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The Bears lacrosse team began conference play over the weekend, splitting the first two games. The team started off their weekend schedule against Oregon on Friday, coming away with a 12-7 victory.

The Ducks went up 3-1 early on in the game but were stormed by 10 unanswered goals from the Bears.

“Our defensive unit including Jenny (Wilkens) in the goal really allowed the offense to get a lot of opportunities,” said Cal head coach Brooke Eubanks. “We had almost 45 shots. That’s a high amount for our team and I think it was in part by the defensive unit really doing their job.”

Cal’s defense managed to record 20 ground balls and allowed a season-low seven goals to Oregon. The dominant defensive performance allowed the offense to hold the ball more and put up a ton of shots, leading to the 10-0 run.

Cal redshirt junior Eliza Christman had a season-high six goals against the Ducks. She scored each of Cal’s first three goals and started the 10-0 streak with her high energy playstyle.

“She is the workhorse. She is a true middy. She’s doing it all,” said Eubanks. “She is that multipurpose player that really can do it all. She’s a special, special player.”

Oregon senior Shannon Williams’ high-scoring streak was contained but not stopped, as she put in four goals and one assist on Cal’s defense. The defensive presence was huge for the Bears on Friday as they took home the victory and reached the .500 mark eight games into the season.

The win against Oregon also extended Cal’s winning streak to four games, but it would only last for two days until Colorado snapped it. The Bears fell to the No. 23 Buffaloes 17-11 on Sunday.

Cal seemed to have all the early momentum in the game against Colorado, scoring the first two goals followed by huge cheers from the sidelines. Colorado came back with four goals of their own to take the lead. Two more goals from the Bears made things even at four goals each with just under 15 minutes left in the first half.

This solid start from Cal couldn’t be maintained though, as the Buffaloes ended the half on a 5-0 run and would never look back from there. Colorado senior Miranda Stinson had a dominant performance with eight goals against Cal.

Cal was able to dominate the draw control category 22-7 over Colorado. This is a number that would usually reflect a victory for the team with triple the amount of draw controls. Cal sophomore Lizabanks Campagna recorded 11 of the team’s draw controls.

“The draw team did a phenomenal job,” said Eubanks. “Lizabanks had 11, half the draws by just herself. It’s obviously a lot of skill and tactics but it also comes down to a lot of heart and hustle and she definitely showed that today.”

Cal, averaging over 15 turnovers per game this season, struggled with turnovers again, giving the ball up 20 times to the Buffaloes. The team will have to focus on cutting down turnovers in order to stay competitive against tough opponents like Colorado in the future.

Cal senior Caroline Corzel managed to find the net five times for the Bears on the day, leading the Bears in scoring.

“It was really a team effort,” said Corzel. “We were scoring off of our quick ball movement and when we did get our goals we were scoring as a team. I think that was the key.”

Cal will look to bounce back after the loss to Colorado against rival Stanford next week. The game will be the last of the three-game homestand for the Bears, starting at 5 p.m. Saturday.

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