Sniping Bears Gallop by Gaels

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With under 10 minutes to play and her team leading by eight points, Laura Kado was all smiles as the enthusiastic crowd at Memorial Stadium cheered her on and asked for more Saturday.

Kado, who at that point had already scored five goals in the Cal women's lacrosse match against visiting Saint Mary's, responded to the crowd's plea by throwing in her sixth goal of the afternoon a couple minutes later en route to the Bears' 12-3 victory.

The sophomore sensation has scored nine goals in her past two games, and was one of many bright spots for the Bears (4-2, 2-2 in the Western Women's Lacrosse League), who have now won three games in a row.

The Cal attack was characterized by precise passing and a stifling defense that made it difficult for the Gaels (3-3, 1-3) to get out of their own territory. As a result, the Bears scored a number of goals off quick turnovers, making the day a nightmare for Saint Mary's goalie Natalie Birch.

"This was the first time that I felt that our defense was in sync," said freshman Emi Tomijima, who made several key defensive plays, including breaking up what seemed like a sure-fire goal on a second-half fast break. "We knew our assignments well, slid well, doubled well and that allowed us to intercept a number of passes."

Although Cal was ahead almost the entire game, the Bears never let up.

"We were tenacious until the very end," Kado said. "Our defense never stopped hustling and going for the groundballs."

Meanwhile, Cal's offense was characterized by great individual efforts.

In the first half, Bears sophomore Halsey Monger made a quick spin move to lose her opponent then launched an uncontested shot, pushing Cal's lead to 2-0.

Less than two minutes later, Bears junior Sarah Wheatley made a great leaping catch and fired in a shot while still airborne. The goal gave Cal a 3-0 advantage, which was never threatened again.

"I was very pleased (with our performance)," Bears coach Jill Malko said. "From the attack standpoint, that was our most consistent game from start to finish."

Cal's players were content with their cohesive offensive attack - taking care of the ball and making sharp decisions throughout the game.

"We're starting to trust each other as teammates," Kado said. "This was our best offensive decision making this year - we had good execution and most of our scores were off the pass."

While Cal received goals from five different players, Kado made her presence known the most.

Kado showed her full arsenal, scoring her six goals in spectacular fashion. She frustrated the Gaels' defense by scoring four goals that bounced in and another immediately off an inbounds pass.

"(Birch) is a good goalie, so if you go straight at her, it won't work," said Kado, who added an assist to her scoring total. "So (coach Malko) has been telling me to work on moving the goalie, then shooting opposite."


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