On Saturday, the Bears defeated the No. 1 Bruins 10-9 in a double-overtime game. Cal knew the matchup was going to be tough due to UCLA’s recent games, but was prepared for a close game — and ready for the comeback in the last seconds of the fourth quarter.
UCLA has been on a mission, coming out on top against teams like USC, Stanford and the University of the Pacific, leading the division with an overall 19-2 record. Having played — and defeated — the Bruins in the semifinals of the NCAA Championships last year, the Bears knew a competitive match was coming their way.
“They just played really well against USC, so I think it will be a pretty competitive game,” said senior Jack Deely in anticipation of the game. “These games are always usually one goal games, so we have to focus on ourselves and hope we are on the right side of that one goal.”
At the end of Saturday’s game, the Bears were just that: on the right side of that one goal.
Up until the end of the fourth quarter, Cal had been trailing the entire game. This was until sophomore Max Casabella started to heat up and scored his fourth goal in the last 19 seconds of the quarter. In combination with Casabella’s goal, junior goalkeeper Adrian Weinberg made a save in the last play of regular time to send the Bears into overtime.
“In overtime, we just have to keep pushing, and in this case, if you make a mistake just recover that and clear your mind of the mistake and play forward,” Casabella said. “Our teamwork makes things easy, as you can see today.”
Teamwork is what made the Bears come together to win Saturday’s game with a combination of scores and saves from different players. Weinberg totaled 14 saves, Casabella had four goals, Nikolaos Papanikolaou scored twice while Roberto Valera, Deely, Garrett Dunn and Nik Mirkovic all tallied one each.
Fans questioned whether the matchup would have been easier if Deely hadn’t been ejected in the last minute and a half of the first quarter. Deely earned an exclusion that resulted in him being out for the remainder of the game.
Going into the last games of the season, the team, and specifically Deely, still wants to work on its defensive aspect. The Bears need to keep their winning streak up in order to remain in the top positions to make it to the NCAA Championships for the second year in a row.
The team emphasized that there are times when shooters are left open to score or gain drives that could have been avoided with greater defensive efforts.
“We’ve still got to work on defense, we’ve got to knock down shooters, be faster back and forth over our hits and our offense will take care of themselves,” Deely said.
Head coach Kirk Everist was excited for this weekend’s game due to the energy and elite gameplay that comes with a rivalry game.
“It’s a rivalry game, it’s great! We get to go down there and play the number one team in the country,” Everist said. “We are going to have to really play well to solve the problems they are going to bring to us but that’s why these guys came to this school: to play games like that.”
The Bears are heading into the next two weeks with a game against San Jose State on Nov. 6 and another big rivalry game against Stanford on Nov. 12.