Yet to record its first win of the 2022 campaign, Cal lacrosse cannot seem to find its footing this season. This past weekend featured two forgetful performances from the Bears, who fell to San Diego State and the University of Denver.
On Friday, Feb. 18, Cal faced off against SDSU to open its weekend double-header. The Aztecs, who were defeated handily by USC and boasted an unimpressive 5-9 record last season, offered a fantastic opportunity for the Bears to break their 11-game losing streak dating back to last season — but Cal was unable to capitalize on this opportunity.
After conceding the first goal of the contest, junior attacker Amanda Morse and fifth-year attacker Nikki Zaccaro rallied the Bears, combining to put three shots past the Aztec goalkeeper and propel the blue and gold into a commanding 3-1 lead at the end of the first quarter. Morse’s second goal saw her carry the ball the length of the field before duping a defender with a fake shot and dispatching the ball into the back of the net.
“Honestly, that’s what I love to do,” Morse said. “Once I have my momentum and I’m running down the field, everything goes away –– it’s just me and the goalie, and I’m driving to put it in the back of the net. I live for those types of things within the game of lacrosse.”
Despite the positive start, Cal sputtered in the second quarter as the Aztecs charged into the lead with four unanswered goals. SDSU entered halftime up 5-3, and it never looked back.
The Aztecs proceeded to outscore the Bears 10-3 in the second half to win the contest 15-6.
“I actually thought it was a pretty good battle in all areas except finishing,” said Cal head coach Brooke Eubanks. “Twenty-seven (shots) is plenty to score a lot of goals. They were able to capitalize on their opportunities today way more than we were, and that was the difference-maker.”
After one full day of rest, the Bears took the field again Sunday, Feb. 20, looking to rebound against No.15 Denver.
Coach Eubanks made two adjustments in her team selection, with junior midfielder Maya Lawliss and sophomore midfielder Kennedy Goss starting the game against the Pioneers.
This time, the Bears could not replicate their hot start against San Diego State –– it only took 40 seconds for the Pioneers to tally their first goal of the game, and the Bears found themselves trailing 5-1 after the first quarter of play.
Cal finally found its rhythm in the second quarter. It maintained its four-goal deficit going into halftime, thanks to back-to-back goals from fifth-year attacker Liz Scott and freshman midfielder Kennedy Mason.
Following halftime, however, Denver tightened their play, and pulled away with the lead in the second half. The Pioneers sent eight shots past junior goalkeeper Riley Drullinger with no response until Scott thrashed two goals into the Denver net to conclude the game. The final score in Berkeley was 15-5.
“We need to figure out how to put the ball in the back of the net,” Eubanks said. “We’re not going to be able to win games scoring five goals. And then we need to clean up play. We had 20 turnovers, and it’s hard to win a game when you’re turning the ball over that much, so some of those small details of possession can make a big difference.”
The Bears will have almost a week to work on their precision in front of goal before Saturday’s home game against UC Davis.