Cal Wraps Up Pac-10 Play With Homestand Against Oregons





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When the Cal women's soccer team lost, 3-0, to Stanford last Saturday, it was arguably its hardest match of the season. But the Bears aren't done with their Pac-10 challenges.

"When you play at the Pac-10 level, every game is difficult," coach Neil McGuire said.

Cal's 2-4-1 conference record reflects those challenges. So does the weekend that lies ahead.

"We don't have the wins that we would hope for," McGuire said. "Our consistency has been good, so we're just going to play our very best and hopefully that's good enough."

The Bears will start their final weekend of conference play on Friday at Edwards Stadium with the less daunting of their two matches. Oregon (7-8-3, 3-3-1 in the Pac-10) hasn't had a history of success in the Pac-10, but they've done well enough this year to pose a threat to Cal.

The Ducks have fared decently against opponents the Bears struggled with, defeating Arizona and Arizona State, who Cal lost to and tied, respectively.

"Oregon, more than most teams, plays for 90 minutes," McGuire said. "They're extremely competitive."

While the Ducks do not boast the same scoring power as most of the Pac-10 competition, only outscoring opponents this season by a total of 29-23, their stats do show tactical strength on the offense. Oregon has matched those 29 goals with 28 assists.

While Cal's record has been injured by the caliber of opponents they play in the Pac-10, No. 13 Oregon State's perfect 7-0-0 conference record hasn't. The Beavers' overall 15-1-1 record is just one loss short of Stanford's unblemished 16-0-2 record.

Oregon State's Pac-10 perfection could change before they meet Cal on Sunday. The Cardinal, who also boast a perfect conference mark, and the Beavers will face off Friday at Stanford in a game that could decide the Pac-10 title.

The Bears will be hard pressed to score on the Beavers - perfect record or not - at Edwards on Sunday. Oregon State has only been scored on by their rival, Oregon, so far during the conference season. The team's back line is bolstered by goalkeeper Colleen Boyd, who carries a 0.41 GAA.

Overall, the Beavers have only allowed seven goals in 2010, three fewer goals than No. 1 Stanford has. One was in their only loss of the season, against UC Irvine, who Cal tied, 2-2.

"We've worked on a few things just different ways to find goal-scoring opportunities," McGuire said.

Cal has struggled to put away goals in the absence of senior Alex Morgan. The Bears have only scored once in the three games since the forward left to play with the national team in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying tournament.

While Morgan has already played her final game at Edwards, Cal's other three seniors - Emily Shibata, Megan Jesolva and McKenna McKetty - will be honored at the Oregon State game.

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Alex Matthews covers women's soccer. Contact her at [email protected]



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