Lacrosse: Bears Get Their Own Big Game

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It's what every Cal sports team looks forward to all season long-a game against Stanford.

The Cal women's lacrosse team is no different. Tonight it will square off against a vastly underrated Cardinal team.

While posting an unspectacular record of 4-6, Stanford has had to play through a rigorous schedule, consistently placing it against top 25 teams.

"Their record is really misleading," Cal head coach Jill Malko said.

"They've played a lot of tough teams. They're super young like us and I think they've been getting better all year."

The Bears have been improving steadily throughout the season, especially on defense.

In their last game, the Bears tightened the clamps on UC Davis by giving up only 3 goals and completely shutting down the Aggies in the second half.

Before beating Davis, the Bears proved they could play with the best on their four-game road trip to the East Coast, where most of the women's lacrosse powers hail from. Cal played tough against Richmond and UMBC-two teams ranked by many polls in the top 25, and lost to UMBC by a heartbreaking single goal.

The Bears handily beat Howard and George Washington, closing out the week long trip 2-2.

After their recent success have strengthened their record to 9-3, the Bears can hardly wait for their match-up against Stanford.

"Anytime a team from Cal plays Stanford, it's huge," Malko said. "We're looking forward to it and I have every confidence that I won't have to do anything to get them psyched up for this game. There is no doubt in my mind that they will be up on their own."

While Cal promises to be pumped up from start to finish, the bumps and bruises from a long season have started to take their toll.

Sophomore Julianne Wu, who has been a key for the Bears in the midfield with her speed, will miss the game with an injured foot.

While leading scorer Emily Edwards has fully recovered from a leg injury early in the year, sophomore defender Cat Finucane sprained her ankle on the road trip,

but she should be able to play against Stanford.

Besides injuries, the Bears have not needed to worry about much else. The main concern has been the intensity level against lesser teams.

"One of the things our team struggles with is consistency," Malko said. "It's good that we play up to our competition, but we also play down to our competition sometimes."

While the Bears will eventually need to address their problems with putting away inferior teams, they will not need to worry about that problem against Stanford. There is plenty of motivation to go around.


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