Offense Returns as Cal Tames Wildcats

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Tara Arolla knew something had to change.

After the Cal lacrosse team went goalless for an entire 26 minutes during the second half in Friday's 8-6 loss against Longwood, Arolla realized the Bears needed to step up offensively in their Sunday morning match against Davidson.

And step up she did.

The junior attacker scored a career-high seven points - five goals, two assists - to lead Cal to a 14-10 non-conference victory over the Wildcats at Richardson Stadium in Davidson, N.C.

"We're connecting better as a team and that's giving us confidence," Arolla said. "I knew my teammates were working for me and they knew that I was working for them."

Improved team chemistry paid off for the Bears (3-2, 2-0 in the MPSF), who took an early 3-0 lead over Davidson and never trailed the entire game.

Davidson (0-4) put up a valiant fight, tying the game, 4-4, halfway through the first period on one of attacker Jenna Mugele's team-leading three goals, but Cal took control of the game with four consecutive scores.

Midfielders Vail Horn (four goals) and Megan Takacs (three goals, one assist) joined Arolla in elevating their game. The trio netted 12 of the Bears' 14 goals and played a huge role in ball possession by controlling seven draws.

Arolla, Takacs and Horn have developed into a legitimate triple threat this season for the Bears. As the top three scorers on the team, they have increased their output from 36 percent of the team's points last year to account for 60 percent of the squad's scoring thus far.

"They have a great chemistry," Cal coach Theresa Sherry said. "It can be tough running the midfield but Megan and Vail do a great job. And Tara's really our leader, our quarterback on the field running the attack."

But Arolla is quick to remind everyone that lacrosse is a team sport and that the victory over Davidson would not have been possible without the support of every player.

The Bears' defense had another solid game, limiting the Wildcats to only 21 shots while holding their leading scorer, Alanna Parker, to one goal. Cal goalkeeper Allie Shropshire collected nine saves.

The squad's defense was also strong during Friday afternoon's loss to Longwood. Shropshire grounded the squad by grabbing seven saves. The offense just couldn't capitalize on its 25 shot attempts and only found the net in one of its eight free shot chances.

Despite laying an egg offensively in Farmville, Va., to start the weekend, Sherry is positive about the split outcome of the team's road trip.

"We're leaving on a high note," she said. "I hope that we can build on the things we did well and the mistakes are the only things we will leave behind."

This sounds like change Arolla and the Bears can believe in.


Jennifer Hansen covers lacrosse. Contact her a [email protected]

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