Bears lose to Denver but win spot in MPSF tourney

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The Cal lacrosse team did not get what it wanted on Saturday.

The Bears hoped to beat Denver to secure a spot into the 2011 MPSF tournament. Instead, Cal dropped its regular season finale, 13-10, in Denver. Its hopes of a place in the tournament hinged on the final results of the other teams' conference play.

But in the end, like the Rolling Stone song, the Bears got what they needed: a berth in the tournament.

It just didn't come the way Cal wanted it.

"It's a consistency thing," junior Tara Arolla said. "We need to kind of realize that we need to work hard in order to maintain the score, instead of just letting the game happen"

The Bears started the game looking like they would end it with a win. The first 12 minutes saw Cal take a 4-1 lead. The next 18 minutes, however, entailed the Pioneers taking the game back, ending the half, 5-4, in their favor.

"The team really lost a lot of confidence when they tied it back up at 4-4," Bears coach Theresa Sherry said.

Although Sherry said that Cal struggled to transition at halftime, the Bears' Megan Takacs and Alexa Rozelle each scored within the first three minutes of the half. It was Cal's inability to keep up such offensive momentum that prevented any offensive success from having an impact on the game's end result.

The Bears had a similar opportunity to take back the game in the last three minutes as well.

"We definitely had a chance to come back and win, but we turned over the ball and lost possession the rest of the game," Arolla said. "That was a pretty key point that we should have capitalized on but we didn't."

The statistics don't indicate a huge discrepancy in possession between Cal and Denver: the Bears had 11 ground balls against the Pioneers' nine, while Denver notched 14 draw controls over Cal's nine. Rather, it was how each team utilized its possessions that gave the Pioneers the edge.

"We need to get back to shooting, and not just shooting but finishing," Sherry said. "We made their goalie look really good, and we didn't fake, we weren't really deceptive on our shots especially at the end of the game."

With the Bears' place in the tournament solidified, they'll have plenty of time to fix those holes in their play. The tournament will be two weeks from now in Moraga, Calif., and Cal is the only team competing that doesn't have any games between now and then.

"We're kind of treating it as a new season," Sherry said. "We know all the teams that we would be facing, and I think that it's again a matter of us making sure that we get better in the next two weeks."


Alex Matthews covers lacrosse. Contact her at [email protected]

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