Building momentum: Cal faces USC, Arizona State in Pac-12 rematches

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Lisi Ludwig/Senior Staff

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One win is good, but two wins is even better. And don’t get started on three wins.

After finding its first win versus Oregon on Friday last week, Cal hopes to build off that momentum (ignoring the Colorado blowout) as it travels south to face two more Pac-12 rivals in the USC Trojans and the Arizona State Sun Devils.

With only four games left before the Pac-12 championships, now would be the perfect time for Cal lacrosse to start getting hot.

As of today, Cal sits in last place in the Pac-12, tied with Oregon at 1-6 within the conference. The Ducks own the tiebreaker because they won the first game versus Cal by more points. This weekend is of great importance to the Bears if they want to look strong heading into the final stretch of the season.

Meanwhile, USC is absolutely rolling in it right now.

Ranked 13th in the country this week, USC is looking to make a run for the top spot in the conference. Stanford currently leads the conference at 6-1, but USC is right behind them at 4-1, with the Trojans having played two fewer games than their northern rivals. Kelsey Huff is on a tear; she leads the league in 42 goals this year, averaging quite literally a hat trick every game. Huff killed the Bears last game with 6 goals, so they will have to limit her if they want a chance of stopping her.

Down in Arizona, the Sun Devils are coming off of two important milestones.

Arizona State is coming off of an incredible 13-12 overtime win versus then-14th-ranked Rutgers. It was the young program’s first victory over a top-15 team, marking an important milestone for this lacrosse program that only started a few years ago. The second milestone for the Sun Devils was earned by Taylor Pinzone, who was named National Lacrosse Player of the Week by Inside Lacrosse. Pinzone was incredibly clutch in Arizona’s comeback push, finding the back of the net to tie the game with 53 seconds left as well as tallying the assist that won it the game in overtime.

Cal essentially faces two very hot teams looking for their own glory in the Pac-12. However, the Bears boast their own assortment of players trending up at the right time in the season. For starters, Maya Lawliss has been excellent as of late. In what looks like a breakout season for her, Lawliss has tied her career-best 24 goals this season, with plenty of lacrosse left to play. In the past five games, Lawliss has scored 16 goals, with her scoring multiple goals in each of those games. Lawliss has been one of the best Bears in the months of March and April thus far.

And speaking of Bears looking great in March and April, look no further than Liz Scott, who leads the team with 30 goals. Scott also boasts 16 goals in the last five games, including a career day with seven goals versus the Sun Devils.

Scott spoke about the rematch versus these teams, citing a few key points about the adjustments the Bears have to make.

“We got to start taking control of the constant errors we are making,” Scott said. “Right now, I personally believe all these problems we are having are ours and that’s a great thing because they are fixable, everything here is fixable and every game is winnable.”

Cal faces an arduous task versus two teams in the upper half of the Pac-12. However, based on the Oregon game, we now have physical evidence that this team is capable of winning. What comes next is difficult to predict but one thing is for certain: The Bears are confident in themselves.

“That’s what we are going to work on,” Scott said. “The things we can control and we are going to be just fine. Our record may not show it but we are a tough, gritty team.”

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