The Bears played their best game of the season last week against Stanford but still couldn’t finish the job, falling to 4-6 on the season. Cal will look to continue its strong play against USC and ASU, hoping for better results from their efforts this time around.
First on the Bears’ schedule for their two-game road trip is USC, which Cal will face off against Saturday at noon. USC is currently ranked No. 13 in the nation and suffered its only loss to No. 1 Boston College early in the season.
USC is 8-1 and could easily be undefeated, having lost by only three goals to the top team in the nation. Although very unlikely, if the Bears win the game, it will be Cal’s first win against a ranked opponent since 2008.
Cal is coming off of a very strong performance but will have to play even better if it wants a shot against its toughest opponent of the year. Part of this comes down to the team actually finishing its opportunities when it has them.
“There’s a couple of things that we need to change going forward,” said Cal head coach Brooke Eubanks. “I would say the main thing is being finishers.”
The Bears have done a great job cutting down on turnovers lately, and they sit at 25th in the nation in turnovers per game. USC is 35th in caused turnovers, however, so Cal will still have to prioritize taking care of the ball.
USC will be Cal’s third straight ranked opponent, so hopefully, for the Bears, the games against Colorado and Stanford will come in handy in preparing for USC. After the game against USC, Cal will head out of the state to take on ASU on Monday at 4 p.m.
ASU is sitting at 3-4 on the season and has been blown out by both of the ranked opponents it has played. Cal will have a much better shot at coming out victorious against ASU, but still can’t take a victory for granted.
Cal and ASU boast similar records, are both winless against ranked opponents and are 1-2 in conference play, with victories against Oregon. Cal’s schedule has been slightly tougher this year, but the sides match up pretty evenly on paper, so it should be a close matchup.
Cal redshirt junior Kirsten Swanson is still leading the way this season, with 20 goals and seven assists for the Bears. Redshirt junior Eliza Christman has also recorded 20 goals on the season, and the scoring duo will look to continue putting in the goals in the team’s first Pac-12 road trip.
The Bears will likely split the games 1-1, making them 2-3 at the midway point in conference play. Miracles and upsets do happen though, especially in college, so the Bears are sure to bring it all to both games this weekend, no matter how the teams appear to size up.