Bears Easily Shipwreck Navy in Dominating Home Performance

Allyse Bacharach/Staff

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Anybody walking past Witter Field on Thursday afternoon might have assumed the Cal lacrosse team had just won a championship.

As the final buzzer sounded in the Bears' 13-6 victory over Navy, the Cal sideline erupted into cheers and stormed the field, hugging teammates enthusiastically.

While the Bears (5-3, 2-0 in MPSF) have a lot of their season left before a chance to win a title, they certainly looked championship caliber against the talented Midshipmen (8-2).

"We put together a complete 60 minutes for the first time all year," Cal coach Theresa Sherry said. "I'm so proud to see this team finally play up to its potential."

After allowing Navy to get on the board first five minutes in, the Bears took over the game with an entire team effort. For the second straight contest, Cal's offense was clicking. Eight different players scored for an efficient attack that shot at an even .500 percentage.

Junior attacker Tara Arolla once again led the charge for the Bears with a hat trick and a game-high four ball controls. She had plenty of help as Gina Holslag, Melissa Humphrey and Megan Takacs each found the back of the net twice.

As impressive as Cal's attack was, the team's strong defensive outing fueled the win. The Bears limited the Midshipmen's explosive offense - averaging 30 shots a game - to half that amount. Attackers Jasmine DePompeo and Aimee Gennaro, the nation's points leaders, only managed four shots and two goals against stifling coverage.

Cal goalkeeper Allie Shropshire credits defenders Tori Harrison and Grace Parente with stopping the duo.

"When you play these East Coast teams who have so much talent and depth, it can be hard defensively," said Shropshire, who had six saves. "That's why this win was so exciting."

The Bears, who closed the game with five of the last six goals, even got a score from their defensive unit. With under 20 seconds left in the match, Parente found herself with the ball on the scoring half of the field as she cleared a Navy attack. Falling to the ground and unable to see any teammates, the freshman threw a prayer toward the goal.

"Call it St. Patrick's Day luck," Parente said of her first career goal. "You know it's your day when things like that happen."

Whether it was luck, skill or the reemergence of the sun, Cal certainly looked like it had finally hit its stride yesterday. With four road games over spring break, the Bears hope that this isn't the high point of their season.

"We put a lot of effort into this game and it's a huge win for us," Sherry said. "But this is only the middle of the season. There's a lot ahead of us."

If the Bears keep playing as they did against Navy, they just might be celebrating more than just a win come April.


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

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