Bears Aim to Shipwreck Navy

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Staying warm in the chilly Berkeley weather may be a big concern for fans at Cal's lacrosse match today, but it doesn't look to be a problem for the visiting team.

Navy (8-1) boasts one of the hottest offenses in the nation and have outscored its opponents by nearly double on the season. The Midshipmen will be going for their fourth straight victory as they face the Bears (4-3, 2-0 in MPSF) at Witter Field at noon.

"They definitely have a great attack and can score in bunches," Cal coach Theresa Sherry said. "We need to slow them down as much as we can."

It won't be easy to stop the sizzling duo of Jasmine DePompeo and Aimee Gennaro. The attackers lead not only Navy in scoring, but also the entire nation. Heading into this week, the sophomore and freshmen were tied with 40 points apiece to top the Division I points leader standings. On Monday, Gennaro was named National Rookie of the Week by after breaking two Navy single-game rookie records.

The last Player of the Week honoree Cal faced was Shannon Smith of Northwestern. She torched the Bears for eight points in a 19-8 blowout.

Navy's only loss on the season came against that same Wildcats squad, when Smith scored nine points on the way to a 18-8 win.

The similar statistics between the games make the Bears believe that the first ever meeting between Cal and Navy will be one for the schools to remember.

"It's going to be a good one," attacker Tara Arolla said.

The junior, who shares the team's scoring lead with sophomore Megan Takacs with 22 points, thinks the Bears will have to work hard. She said they can easily come out on top even if the Midshipmen keeps their hot hand.

Both teams carry confidence into today's games. Navy beat Cal's fellow MPSF opponent, Fresno State, 22-6, on Tuesday while the Bears overcame a rough second half to beat Lafayette, 13-10, the same night.

Facing a first rate offense will focus the spotlight on Cal's defense. While goalie Allie Shropshire has played consistently all season and has 46 saves and 17 ground ball pickups, the difference in the game may come with how well the team's role players on defense and in the midfield play. Cal has struggled all season long in its quest to win the battle of ball control and force harder shots. The Bears have been beat on draw controls, 89-81, this season by opponents while allowing them to shoot at a .486 percentage.

"I think we have a legitimate opportunity to beat this team who's had a lot of success this year," Sherry said. "We just need to focus on what we're doing and play a complete game."

A little rain to cool off Navy's fire wouldn't hurt Cal either.


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

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