Winless homestand: Cal falls to 0-5 in loss to UC Davis

Photo of Cal Lacrosse
Nick Quinlan/Staff

Related Posts

The magic number of Saturday’s match was five –– five straight losses to open Cal lacrosse’s season, five straight losses to UC Davis with Cal’s last victory over the Aggies dating back to Feb. 22, 2019 and only five goals scored in a blistering 16-5 defeat. In other words, the Bears are in the midst of a rough stretch.

On Feb. 26, Cal faced off against its upstate neighbor in UC Davis. The Bears opened the game strong, with team leader in points and junior attacker Amanda Morse scoring the first goal. Cal took a 3-1 lead midway through the first quarter before conceding three straight goals to the Aggies.

Still, the Bears remained aggressive. Senior attacker Kaia Evans made a nice run to set up Quinnlyn Mason for a game tying goal heading into the second quarter. At 4-4, the game looked competitive, but the Bears’ lack of consistency rang true again as they failed to carry any momentum thereafter.

The Aggies scored quickly in the second, thanks to the efforts of Ella Brislin. From there, the game became a heated defensive battle, with neither team finding the back of the net for nearly 10 minutes. The Bears’ inability to break through the Aggies’ iron curtain proved critical as they would not score again until the third quarter.

UC Davis attacker Mia Lawrence broke the game open off of an assist from Kendall Seifert. The Bears would allow two more goals to close the quarter, including a shot clock buzzer beater from Brislin to Seifert with 12 seconds remaining in the half. Head coach Brooke Eubanks spoke on the team’s lack of consistency.

“In the first quarter, we did an amazing job. Specifically, the offense was 4-7 on our offensive possessions,” Eubanks said. “The next quarter, it was kind of the exact opposite. The biggest thing we have to work on is consistency going forward because we have moments of greatness and then we have moments where we can’t string plays together.”

The Aggies dominated the second half, outscoring the Bears 8 to 1. Ella Brislin, Alex Agnew and Mia Lawrence got their hat tricks in by the end of the third, combining for 10 of the Aggies’ 16 total goals. Cal ended its scoring drought on a shot by “Senior of the Game” Nikki Zaccaro at the 1:31 mark, but by then the game was already decided.

Despite the overwhelming defeat indicated by the scoreboard, the Bears had their opportunities to keep the game close. Eubanks pointed to the Aggies’ ability to win the hustle plays, citing the Aggies’ 23 ground balls and their wins in the draw controls.

“When the ball goes down and it’s a fight between two players, they (UC Davis) definitely out performed us on that,” Eubanks said. “Those 50-50 possession battles, if you’re going to win those you are definitely going to put yourself in a spot to have more shot opportunities and therefore potentially goals.”

Eubanks’ point is highlighted by moments such as attacker Regan Arkless hunting down a rebound off of a missed shot to score a goal.

The Bears will have plenty of time to make the necessary adjustments with a two week break before their next game versus No. 25 Stanford. With non-conference games out of the way, Cal has an opportunity to shake off its rough start and begin tallying meaningful Pac-12 wins. It won’t be easy, but if Cal can string together some success, it has a chance to put the magic number five behind them.

“Now we are stepping into conference which is just as competitive as we’ve seen so far,” Eubanks said. “We need to be students of the game, we need to learn our opponents because it’s going to be the same themes over the next two months of the season.”

Kenzo Fukuda covers lacrosse. Contact him at [email protected].