Cal Clinches Pac-10 By Beating Card

Photo: The Cal men's soccer team won its third conference championship in program history with a 3-2 victory over Stanford on Thursday.
Victoria Chow/Photo
The Cal men's soccer team won its third conference championship in program history with a 3-2 victory over Stanford on Thursday.

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Men's Soccer vs. Stanford
Men's Soccer vs. Stanford


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Practice makes perfect.

Not matter how cliche the saying may be, for the No. 8 Cal men's soccer team it was made the difference in Thursday's game against Stanford (8-10, 4-6 in the Pac 10).

Two of the three goals the Bears (12-2-3, 8-1-1 in the Pac 10) garnered in the 3-2 win were off of set pieces.

It was senior forward Davis Paul's two corner kicks that first set up freshman forward Alec Sundly and then fellow senior Servando Carrasco.

After Paul's corner about 30 minutes into the game, Sundly came streaking into the box with a bullet of a header past Cardinal goalkeeper Jason Dodson to tally his first goal of his career.

"We literally work on that a day before a game," Paul said. "We just executed to a tee."

The Capistrano Beach, Calif., native worked hard to make his presence known on the field yesterday. To him, the effort he put forth was in honor of the seniors for their last home game of the regular season.

"He is such a good player," senior co-captain A.J. Soares said. "He got his opportunity today and showed that he is a top player."

Eight seniors saw the last regular season home game of their collegiate careers. Carrasco, Soares, Paul, Hector Jimenez, Demitrius Omphroy, Anthony Avalos and Scot VanBuskirk were honored in front of the largest turnout at Edwards Stadium, with 2,415 people in attendance.

"At the start of this game, I just thought, 'I want to do this for them,'" Sundly said. "Mentally, I just wanted to leave it all on the field."

Adam Jahn knocked in the equalizer for Stanford with eight minutes left in the first half to make it 1-1. Cal came out stronger at the beginning of the second half, working to keep possession.

A little over halfway into the second half, Paul broke through on a run down the field, going one-on-one with Dodson. After Paul attempted to chip it past him, Dodson lowered his shoulder in a foul that warranted him a red card and took him out of the game for the rest of the contest.

With one fewer man in a red jersey, the Bears put the pressure on. Carrasco put in Cal's second goal with a perfectly placed header at 73:38 and Sundly collected his second goal long-range shot that curled into the back of the net.

Cameron Lamming knocked in a last-minute ball to collect the last goal of the match.

Not only was it an emotional game because of the rivalry and the seniors' last home game of the season, but the victory clinched the Pac-10 title for the first time since 2007.

"Last year, after such a difficult season, we had so many injuries and were in last place in the Pac-10," coach Kevin Grimes said. "We had such a difficult year, we couldn't find any rhythm and it was really hard to get healthy players back on the field. To turn it around from last place to first place, it is because of the seniors. They did this."

Tags: CAL MEN'S SOCCER, KEVIN GRIMES, DAVIS PAUL


Kelly Suckow covers men's soccer. Contact her at [email protected]



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