Newly Ranked Bears Prep For Host Role of Cal Legacy

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In one weekend, the unranked Cal men's soccer team propelled itself into a top-20 spot with its Adidas/IU Credit Union tournament win last week.

That doesn't seem to matter to the team, though.

"The ranking doesn't mean anything," senior co-captain A.J. Soares said. "We don't ever look at that."

The focus for this squad is not about where it stands in national polls or personal accolades.

Even after earning the defensive MVP of the tournament and the Pac-10 Player of the Week award, Soares reflected the team's focus on unity and development.

"(The award) is just a testament to the team really," Soares said. "I am just one part of a huge defensive unit I got the award, but that's for the whole team really."

According to coach Kevin Grimes, it is about improvement and development, both individually and collectively, that motivates the squad and earns them its victories.

"The rankings will take care of themselves," he said.

Although fresh off the tournament title win on the road last weekend, the Bears (1-0-1) are looking forward to the opening weekend of contests for the Cal Legacy Classic.

Friday, Cal takes on Bay Area rival St. Mary's at 4 p.m., at Edwards Stadium.

"It doesn't matter the talent level of the teams in the Bay Area, when Bay Area teams play each other, it is always really hard," Soares said.

The familiarity factor with the Gaels in terms of close proximity and players from old recruiting battles plays a part in fueling the competitiveness.

Trevor Newquist, a Gael defender, will prove to be a strong asset to his team. He showcased both his offensive and defensive strengths in the St. Mary's Tournament win last weekend with his goal over Northwestern and his role in keeping Cal State Fullerton goal-less.

Following their match on Friday, the Bears will face UNLV on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Senior midfielder and offensive standout Stephen Sifuentes collected two goals over Alabama A&M last weekend and leads his team in points.

Rankings and concern over opponents aside, Cal is looking to tap into the talent that this season's squad possesses as well as build on effective strategies from last weekend.

"Our defense was really good (last weekend), and we had some really good attacking moments in the games," junior David Bingham said. "If we just build on those two things, we will be good this weekend."

Personal victories and a tournament title win will not distract the Bears from focusing on the matches ahead of them this weekend however.

"We know that whoever we play in our schedule is going to be a tough game and we hope we provide that same thing for the opponent," Grimes said.

Tags: CAL MEN'S SOCCER, KEVIN GRIMES, A.J. SOARES


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



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