Bears Keep to Old Tricks Entering Match Against New Mexico

Related Articles »

  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

Heading into its final two games before conference play begins, the Cal men's soccer team isn't changing its routine very much. Even the Mohawks are still here.

The Bears still warm up for practice playing some soccer tennis, friendly taunting coinciding with balls whipping down the line. It's certainly fun, but there's still a competitive edge to it, a routine that hasn't been altered by the course of the season.

"We're staying focused, just doing what we do everyday in training," A.J. Soares said. "We haven't changed anything really. We're just sticking with what we do in practice everyday, and go do it on the field. It's worked out so far."

"Worked out" may be an understatement. Cal (5-1-0) is riding four-game winning streak that has seen it outscore its opponents, 13-2. The Bears have continued to increase their national prestige and, spurred by dominating displays against San Francisco and Santa Clara, have risen to No. 5 in the newest coaches' rankings heading into today's matchup against New Mexico at 4:30 p.m. at Stanford.

While Cal's preparation hasn't been tweaked much thus far, the personnel on the field will have a slightly new look this weekend. Soares will anchor a backline suffering from the rash of injuries that has hit the team.

Defender Ted Jones, who had been partnering in the center with Soares, is out for several weeks with a knee injury. Freshman Steve Birnbaum, who replaced Jones last Sunday against the Broncos, is likely to continue in his new position. Senior Jacob Wilson, who came out early in Sunday's game, is questionable for this weekend after being held out of drills during practice this week.

The different back four will be in front of the biggest question mark of the week-goalkeeper. After incurring what appeared to be a pulled hamstring, keeper David Bingham is still something of an uncertainty, and didn't join the goalie drills during Wednesday's practice. Senior Patrick Fry or freshman Robby Gogatz would start in Bingham's absence, with both having seen limited minutes this fall.

No one on the team expects the playing style to alter at all, despite the new faces.

"We always play our system," Soares said. "Any player can go in and out, it's not a problem really. We're lucky that we have depth, and a lot of players who can play."

Cal stays in the Bay Area this weekend, going south for the first game of the Stanford Nike Classic. The team takes on the Lobos (4-2-0), who have had an uneven season, playing four ranked teams -- none in the top 10 -- to break even with a 2-2 record against them.

The Bears get another Sunday home tilt when they host Air Force (3-1-1), which possesses a newer challenge with a forward measured at 6-foot-6.

"We've got guys in the back who can jump," Soares joked. "We'll be fine, do whatever we can. If we keep the ball, they won't ever get it to him."

And so far, the team has the record to back up its defender's confidence.


Contact Nicole Baudouin at [email protected]

Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
Soccer (Men's)
Image Bears Advance to Quarters With Win Over Brown
Facing a Brown team that had only allowed 10 goals all season, the Cal...Read More»
Soccer (Men's)
Image Cal Looks to Continue Fighting in Battle of Bears
Are Brown Bears better than Golden Bears? That is the question to...Read More»
Soccer (Men's)
Image Soares Named Pac-10 Player of the Year in Bears' T...
Conference play is over for the Cal men's soccer team. T...Read More»
Soccer (Men's)
Image Cal Clinches Pac-10 By Beating Card
Practice makes perfect. Not matter how cliche the saying may be, for the N...Read More»
Soccer (Men's)
Image Senior Moment
The Cal versus Stanford rivalry is something bigger than just two games. F...Read More»
Soccer (Men's)
Image Bears Spell Double Trouble for Washington in 2-1 H...
After 109 minutes of a thrilling contest against Washi...Read More»
Right Arrow

Job Postings

White Space