Cal Earns First Round Bye in NCAA College Cup

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After the Cal men's soccer team claimed the Pac-10 title last Thursday, the squad knew that it had a bid in the College Cup tournament. What was still to be determined was which seed the Bears would earn.

Anxiously waiting for the final bracket placement, Cal sat in anticipation on Monday for the NCAA to unveil its postseason fate.

The anticipation subsided after the Bears (12-2-3, 8-1-1 in the Pac-10) were announced as the No. 6 seed. Because of their top 16 finish, the players will enjoy a bye for the first round of the tournament.

The seed is impressive, considering the competition. Among the other teams seeded in the Akron, Ohio region are No. 14 Indiana, No. 11 Connecticut and 2009 runner-up No. 3 Akron.

That first bye will allow Cal to better prepare for its first match-up against the victor of UCSB and Denver.

Because of the favorable position the Bears have taken for the postseason, the team will enjoy home field advantage for that first contest on November 21 at 1:30 p.m. at Edwards Stadium.

"There is something about sleeping in your own bed and coming and playing on the field that you get to train on and play on every weekend," senior forward Davis Paul said. "There is definitely a huge advantage for us."

After tying the Pioneers, 2-2, in a double overtime contest early on in the season, Cal could have its hands full should it meet Denver again.

The Gauchos, who host the College Cup, will also be a team to be reckoned with when considering their physicality and talent.

"Personally, I do not have a single preference with the two," Paul said. "I am glad that we are in the bracket that we are in. We are at the top of our game right now. When you have the confidence like that, it doesn't matter who comes through us."

With a hard slate ahead for the next couple of weeks, the Bears are looking to concentrate on playing their game and honing in on the small things that might make the difference against the top teams in the country. For a team whose dreams at the title were prematurely cut short last season, that championship game on December 12 is not out of reach for this year's team.

"We hope to play as well as we can and that is really all that we can do," senior co-captain A.J. Soares said.

"We can't focus on results or anything. Obviously we want to win every game but more importantly, it is playing our best and doing everything we can to put ourselves in the best situation to win. That is the only thing we can do and control."


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

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