Cal lacrosse ends drought with win in Pac-12 tournament play

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Cal lacrosse secured its first conference tournament victory since 2010 after the team headed to Eugene, Oregon for a first-round matchup against Arizona State. The victory would outshine the team’s eventual 16-5 loss to USC, as Cal was able to snap its losing streak and make this season count. The unfortunate blowout to end the season leaves the Bears with a 7-12 record, an improvement of one win over last season.

Cal took on ASU on Thursday, winning 12-8 with the help of a solid night from redshirt junior Kirsten Swanson, who tallied four goals and an assist. The Bears had seven different players make up the 12 total goals, a scoring distribution that kept the offense unpredictable against the weak Sun Devil defense.

The four-goal victory for Cal doesn’t properly reflect just how close this game was, as just one goal separated the teams for the majority of the game, including when there were only five minutes left in the second half. Cal was leading 9-8 with time winding down when Swanson netted her third goal, which was followed by two more Cal goals to seal the victory late on in the match.

The Bears kept their undefeated record against the Sun Devils alive, making them 3-0 against the conference opponent this spring — ASU was the only team Cal was able to gain more than one victory against this season.

The victory over the Sun Devils also gave Bears head coach Brooke Eubanks her fifth consecutive season with an improved record, as the team has gained one more win each season since she joined Cal.

After the win against ASU, Cal moved on in the tournament to face first-seeded No. 17 USC on Friday. Unfortunately for the Bears, their season would end there, as they fell 16-5 to the Trojans.

USC came out strong, scoring five unanswered goals in the first 14 minutes of the game. The Trojans would never look back, as Cal wasn’t able to recover from the aggressive start and trailed for the entire game.

Trojans junior Izzy McMahon scored five goals against the Bears, leading the way for the dominant USC victory. Cal couldn’t stop a high-powered offense that saw USC boast 10 different goal-scorers on the evening.

In their final games for Cal, Eliza Christman and Swanson both recorded 2 points, while Junior Susie Ropp also recorded 2 points on the evening.

USC’s dominance was reflected not only on the scoreboard but all throughout the box score. The Trojans almost tripled Cal’s shots, leading the Bears 39-14 in the category. The only category Cal was able to lead USC in was saves, which was simply because the Trojans put up so many more shots than the Bears.

USC also led Cal, 16-6, in draw controls, a number that usually equates to a higher chance of victory from having more possession.

Senior goalkeeper Jenny Wilkens recorded 12 saves in her final game with the Bears, which was also her 23rd career double-digit save game — the 12 saves extended her Cal career saves record to 173.

The season was a good one for the Bears, as they were once again able to improve their record and maintain steady upward movement from year to year. Another improved season is always a strong sign looking forward, and Cal should be coming in with high expectations for 2020.

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