Bears lacrosse hoping for strong start to road trip

A lacrosse athlete runs with her stick as another player attempts to block her.
Karen Chow/Senior Staff

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Cal lacrosse is back in action after its bye week and will head out of state to face off against Oregon and Colorado. Head coach Brooke Eubanks and the Bears lacrosse team are done at home this season after ending their California Memorial Stadium slate with a 17-8 victory over Arizona State to close out March. Cal will hope to keep the wins coming as it takes on Oregon at Papé Field at 5 p.m. Friday.

If the Bears can manage to come out on top against the Ducks, they will be at seven wins on the season, their highest total ever under Eubanks and also their best record since 2013. Cal defeated Oregon earlier this year 12-7 at home and will be optimistic of repeating this feat again.

Redshirt junior Kirsten Swanson leads all Cal scorers with 31 goals and eight assists this season. The Bears will hope to see more solid performances out of her this weekend as she leads the way on the offensive end.

Oregon senior Shannon Williams is still dominating for the Ducks with 51 points this season, so she will surely be on Cal’s radar once again for this game. She ranks fifth in goals and second in assists in the Pac-12 this year.

The Ducks are currently 0-7 in conference play, and the Bears should make it 0-8, but, given Cal sports’ inconsistent history, it would be quite the Cal thing to do if the team gave Oregon its first conference win of the season.

After facing the Ducks, Cal will head to Kittredge Field for its second game of the weekend, taking on Colorado. Colorado was able to bring down Cal, 17-11, earlier this year, so the Bears will be hoping to take better care of the ball this time around, hopefully resulting in a closer contest.

Colorado is No. 20 in the nation, so realistically, Cal isn’t expected to win this game and will likely find itself splitting the doubleheader weekend, 1-1.

The Buffaloes’ only conference loss so far is to Pac-12 leader USC, which Colorado also beat in the teams’ second meeting of the season.

Colorado is led by senior Miranda Stinson, who boasts 44 goals and 11 assists this season. She leads the Pac-12 in goals, which includes a seven-goal lead over the rest of the competition. Stopping her dominant offense is going to be a tough task for Cal, as she poured in eight goals against Cal in their last meeting.

The last outing against Colorado was a rough one for Cal, losing by 6 points to the conference rivals. The game was even more of a blowout than the final score shows, though, with Cal going on a late 5-1 run in garbage time.

Cal’s games this weekend are important to their Pac-12 standings, as the team currently sits at fourth (3-4), with Stanford ahead in third (4-3). After this weekend, the Bears’ final game of the season will be Friday, April 19 against the rival Cardinal.

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