Cal's season ends against Card

Photo: Junior defender Melissa Sheehan and the rest of the Cal women's lacrosse team saw the 2011 campaign come to a close against rival Stanford. The Bears allowed 20 goals by 10 different Cardinal players on Friday in Moraga, Calif.
Eugene W. Lau/File
Junior defender Melissa Sheehan and the rest of the Cal women's lacrosse team saw the 2011 campaign come to a close against rival Stanford. The Bears allowed 20 goals by 10 different Cardinal players on Friday in Moraga, Calif.


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In soccer, they say a two-goal lead is the most dangerous kind. It's enough goals to get complacent, but not safe enough from a comeback.

Whether or not that theory applies to lacrosse is questionable, but the Cal women's lacrosse team provided positive evidence against Stanford during Friday's MPSF tournament semifinal.

The Bears (9-8) jumped out with two quick scores in the opening two minutes. It seemed that Cal might be able to hold onto their dominance over No. 6 Stanford (15-2) during the next five scoreless minutes.

But when Sarah Flynn scored in the sixth minute, she ended the drought and the Bears' season, essentially. The Cardinal converted that goal to a stunning 13-0 run that all but cemented a 20-11 victory in Moraga, Calif. .

"We just somehow lost our momentum," coach Theresa Sherry said. "We were fouling a lot, and we just couldn't keep pressuring after those first couple times down, and the momentum just really shifted in Stanford's direction."

The game was more balanced in the second half, in which the Bears outscored the Cardinal, 8-7, but that was little consolation for Cal.

"We really needed to be at our best for the whole game and just had let downs here and there," Sherry added. "We dug ourselves a hole that way."

When Cal wasn't digging itself a hole, Stanford's high pressure offense and defense was doing it for the Bears. During their dominant first half, the Cardinal outshot Cal, 28-11.

According to Sherry, the main obstacle Cal faced was in trying to contain an offense in which every player could score. Stanford's attack was impressive in its balance, as 10 different players found the net during the contest.

"One person would score and then we'd try to tighten up on one person, and then some one else would (score)," she said. "They have a lot of weapons in a lot of different positions."

Such weapons included All-MPSF first-team honorees Sarah Flynn, Karen Nesbitt, Leslie Foard, Lauren Schmidt, and Catherine Swanson - all of whom accounted for more than one point.

Cal's weapons challenged the Cardinal net as well. Junior Vail Horn and freshman Hayley Olson had a hat trick each. However, Stanford was able to shut down sophomore Alexa Rozelle, who scored two goals in the first half but none in the second.

In the first half, Stanford won five more ground balls than the Bears, contributing to their evidently dominant possession.

"We had trouble hanging onto the ball, we made some really crucial errors, just on the attacking end," Sherry said. "They have a very good high pressure defense so we struggled with the pressure."

Perhaps when the Cardinal's predominantly senior offense graduates, Cal will experience some relief from that pressure. But this loss means that the Bears must wait a year to find out.

Tags: CAL LACROSSE, THERESA SHERRY, VAIL HORN, HAYLEY OSLON


Alex Matthews covers lacrosse. Contact her at [email protected]



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