Slow beginnings: Cal lacrosse starts season with 2 losses

Vanessa Lim/Staff

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At some point, momentum will come to a halt, especially in sports. The 2020 Super Bowl marked the end of three consecutive appearances by the New England Patriots, 1994 saw the end of the Chicago Bulls’ three year finals streak, and Friday noted the end of Cal lacrosse’s three-year winning streak against UC Davis.

Following their loss to the Aggies on Friday night, the blue and gold fell again, this time to the University of Virginia. The odds may have been against the Bears this past weekend, but their future still shows promise as they have more play ahead of them.

The first contest of the year ended with a devastating loss for the Bears when facing the Aggies at UC Davis Health Stadium on Friday. The Bears’ offense took some time to warm up while the Aggies remained in synch, delivering consistent play that denied  Cal any lead for the duration of the game.

The Bears found themselves in a position to pull ahead multiple times, closing in with a tie three separate times. Junior attacker Marisa Kuberra leveled the game at six apiece with an unassisted goal in the second half before UC Davis scored three final goals, ending the game with a 6-9 victory for the Aggies.

Junior goalkeeper Makayla Ward managed to find the light amid the darkness as she gained a career-high of 13 saves in her first career start. UC Davis senior midfielder Maddie Myers also scored a career-high six goals.

Two days later the Bears went on to face No. 8 Virginia at California Memorial Stadium. Cal seemed to have warmed up prior to the start this time around and kept pace with the ranked team for a large portion of the first half. Virginia opened the game with a 3-0 lead until Cal sophomore attacker Quinnlynn Mason emerged with two sequenced goals, narrowing the score to 3-2 with nearly 17 minutes remaining in the first half. The Cavaliers rallied however, and finished the first half on top with a score of 7-4.

The Bears quickly faded as the second half began and Virginia went on to score six consecutive goals following half time for a nine-point advantage. The Cavaliers maintained their momentum, giving little opportunity to the Bears to score, ultimately emerging victorious with a final score of 17-7.

The Cavaliers’ junior midfielder Sammy Mueller collected a game-high of five points from her three contributing goals and two assists, while senior midfielder Nora Bowen, sophomore midfielder Courtlynne Caskin and freshman midfielder Kiki Shaw took responsibility for two goals each. Junior midfielder Ashlyn McGovern earned the game-high scoring crown for the Cavaliers with four goals.

Ward continued her double-digit saves for the Bears with 11 for the game, one ahead of Virginia’s redshirt junior goalkeeper Charlie Campbell with 10.

The Bears took a respectable shot at the Cavaliers, but were ultimately outclassed by one of the best teams in the country. Their efforts will prepare them for the long road trip ahead as they play the first of a five-game road trip against Mercer on Friday. That game will begin at 2 p.m. at Five Star Stadium in Macon, Georgia.

Mara Redican writes for Bear Bytes. Contact her at [email protected].