Bears to Kick Off Postseason Play on Sunday Against UCSB

Gauchos Will Ride Into Edwards Stadium After Golden Goaling Denver In the Opening Round

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With seven seniors helping lead the Cal men's soccer team into the postseason, something exciting is bound to happen at Edwards Stadium on Sunday.

The No. 6 seed Bears (12-2-3) take on UCSB for the second round of the NCAA tournament at 1:30 p.m. on their home turf.

For the seniors, it is their third postseason year, the first chance since their sophomore seasons to see contests past conference play.

It is also the highest seed they have earned in their collegiate tenure.

Their first year at Cal, Anthony Avalos, Servando Carrasco, Hector Jimenez, Demitrius Omphroy, Davis Paul, A.J. Soares and Scot VanBuskirk helped the rest of the the No. 17 squad battle then-No. 25 UC Davis in the first round of the College Cup.

Cal ended up winning, 2-1, in double overtime. A 3-2 loss to then-No. 11 Virginia Tech ended the Bears' campaign for the College Cup in the second round.

In 2008, No. 9 Cal blanked USF, 3-0, in the first round of the tournament. Rain couldn't stop the Bears when they battled with No. 19 UCSB for the second round. Despite the Gauchos having a first-round bye, Cal clinched the win in double overtime, 3-2. The match marked Santa Barbara's first tournament loss on its home pitch.

UCSB's 24 shots kept goalkeeper Stefan Frei busy in the net. He tallied a season-best 11 saves, allowing only two balls past him.

This year, the Gauchos battled it out with Denver for the first round of the tournament. UCSB's victory over the Pioneers sealed the Bears' fate for the second round and first contest for Cal in this year's postseason.

The Gauchos (14-4-3) dominated the Pioneers, outshooting them 8-1 with six corners in the first half of play. Gaucho midfielder Danny Barrera's two shots on frame in the first half contributed to the offensive effort that put the pressure on Denver keeper John Willis. Willis tallied four saves total.

After regulation time expired with the score knotted at 0-0, the two teams headed into the first 10 minutes of golden goal overtime.

UCSB's four shots in the extra period were unable to find the back of the net, keeping both teams scoreless at the end of the period.

The teams continued into a second overtime period.

Barrera's short pass in the 104th minute of the match to Wade Ibrahim enabled the forward to knock in the only goal of the match and put an end to the contest.

After two years since the two teams saw one another last another on the same field, Cal and UCSB will square off against one another in what is sure to be a fast-paced, physical game.

For the Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Kevin Grimes, and his senior-laden squad, this weekend could ignite the first postseason step in hopes of chasing down the College Cup.


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

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