Losses on Bears' Minds in Duel With Davidson

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The Cal lacrosse team should be ready to hibernate at this point. The Bears played No. 19 Ohio State on Friday and, with barely a day to dwell on the 19-5 loss, were defeated 17-3 by No. 1 Northwestern on Sunday. But the Bears aren't retreating to their lair.

In fact, coach Theresa Sherry believes the experience of playing two tough non-conference opponents over the course of the weekend will help the team when it takes on Davidson today at 3 p.m.

"We'll be used to that pressure, we'll be used to having to move the ball quickly," she said. "Hopefully that pace will carry over."

A concern with such a tight schedule of high intensity games is that the frenetic pace could be slowed by fatigue.

Sherry schedules a difficult non-conference slate every season, and even with the tough games at home, the players are taxed after a rough weekend.

"It's definitely gonna be a challenge," sophomore Vail Horn said. "All of our bodies are hurting from having two games in a row and now this third one."

Sherry agreed that the turnaround was a challenge but said the team would be going light in practice on Monday.

Davidson had a 6-10 record last season and is 1-2 so far this year. They have 11 new players and 11 returners, comparable to Cal's 13 new members. Given that Davidson won't pose the same challenge as five-time national champion Northwestern, fatigue might be a good trade-off for the benefits of playing tough competition.

Davidson might not be so fresh themselves, Sherry added. The Wildcats played a game Saturday just before traveling cross-country to come to Memorial Stadium. That's not to say Cal is approaching the game with swelling heads.

"Davidson's very well-coached, and they'll be playing very smart," Sherry said.

Beyond that, the Bears don't know much about Davidson, as they haven't played against each other recently. But Cal knows well what they need to bring to the game today.

A primary focus, based on the team's struggles this weekend, will be improvements on the attack. Sherry wants to keep a quick pace but simultaneously work on maintaining possession on the offensive end. Horn agreed that a key for the Bears getting their first win of the season will be gaining enough composure on the attack to execute plays.

Sherry said that the team did well with their game plan on Sunday and now needs to focus on finishing the job. The Bears combined for a tepid eight goals in two games last weekend. Offensive ball control will be important in achieving that.

"We're gonna hope to use a lot of our depth on Tuesday to play at the pace that we wanna play," Sherry added.

Though the team lost badly to their nonconference opponents this weekend, they hope to capitalize on the difficulties so far to gain momentum for the rest of the season.

"We're learning from this last game (Northwestern)," Horn said. "It's been a challenge, and we're just gonna work as a team, continue with that."


Contact Alex Matthews at [email protected]

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