Scoring Spree Heads South

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Time to pack up the circus and take the show on the road.

The wheeling-and-dealing thrills of the No. 25 Cal women's soccer squad will venture outside Edwards Stadium for the first time this season after the Bears quickly established themselves as a force to be reckoned with.

The team heads to Los Angeles for the Loyola Marymount/FILA Invitational, with games Friday and Sunday against Xavier (1-2) and Kent State (3-0-1).

After a dominating weekend that included a 12-0 shelling of then-No. 25 James Madison, Cal (3-0) has opened the season with three convincing wins at home.

Now the question is whether Cal will dominate on the road as well.

"It will obviously be different to play on the road," striker Kyla Sabo said. "You have to fly, stay in hotels and eat out. We have a lot of freshmen and we rely on them heavily so we're going to make this trip as easy as possible for them."

The performance of the vaunted freshman class will be crucial to maintaining the team's strong start.

Freshman Kim Yokers already has five points on the season (2 goals, 1 assist). On the defensive side, freshman Ashley Valenzuela has strengthened an already powerful back line that has yet to surrender a goal this season.

Yet, all things considered, now is as good a time as any to hit the road.

"I think we'll do fine as a team because we've done so well in our last three games," Sabo said. "And we don't have to travel that far to LMU."

The Invitational marks the first time the Bears have ever taken on Xavier or Kent State.

The lack of direct knowledge of the teams should not frighten Cal. Before Friday's annihilation of James Madison, the Dukes and Bears had never faced each other.

Xavier is in the midst of rebounding from a rough start to its season. After 3-0 and 4-0 losses to open the season, the Musketeers pulled out a 2-1 victory over Wisconsin-Madison.

Kent State has proven its endurance with strong play in overtime. Three out of four games have gone into extended play, with the Golden Flash garnering two wins and a tie.

The roaring start for Cal is its best since 1996. Yet the squad is taking it in stride.

"Winning big boosts your confidence, but its still early in the season," sweeper Tami Pivnick said. "Each game is a challenge. We've proven that we can score a lot of goals and our defense has been consistent. It's added confidence in ourselves."

Pivnick is not concerned with a possible letdown after last weekend's dominant performances.

"We will be able to regroup and set our focus and win," Pivnick said.

If the Bears were looking for added motivation, they have found it.

"I know they're both East Coast teams," Sabo said. "It looks really good if you beat East Coast teams because the national ranking system looks heavily upon them."


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