Bolstered Bears Take on East Coast

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The rich just get richer, and for the Cal women's soccer team greed is good, baby.

The No. 4 Bears (5-1-1) are playing well and just upgraded their stock, welcoming back two-time All-American Laura Schott.

Schott was cleared Wednesday to join the team and should see action today when Cal takes on Penn at 12:30 p.m. and Hartford Sunday at 9 a.m.

During Schott's absence, freshman Tracy Hamm filled in admirably with six goals. With Schott back, the Bears look to have an impressive one-two punch.

"I think it will be awesome to play up top with Laura," Hamm said.

On paper, Cal should not have a problem containing Penn and Hartford.

The Quakers (5-2) and the Hawks (3-4) are lukewarm by West Coast standards, but the Bears refuse to take their competitors lightly.

"They're both very good teams," Cal coach Kevin Boyd said.

Penn is riding a five-game winning streak after blasting Drexel University 5-1 last Tuesday.

The Quakers are led by sophomore striker Katy Cross, who has nine goals and four assists.

Hartford is in the middle of a two-game skid, dropping its last match to Dartmouth 2-0 Wednesday. Jeanette Akerland has six goals and two assists to lead the Hawks.

The weekend games will be the Bears' first substantial road trip of the year. Cal's first two road games of the season were against in-state rivals Fresno State and St. Mary's.

"I think we're really focused and know what to expect," Hamm said. "Soccer is soccer no matter where you play."

Leaving the friendly confines of Edwards Stadium should not be a problem. The Bears are 23-7-5 on the road over the past three seasons.

"Historically we've done very well on the road," Boyd said. "Sometimes it's good to be away from the distractions of the school."

The Bears' biggest problem this season has been a lack of consistency, with lapses in concentration amidst moments of greatness.

"I think we need to put together a more complete game," Boyd said. "We need to play strong both halves."

Cal's ongoing quest to stop opponents on defense has been a success. On average, the Bears are holding opponents to less than a goal per game.

"We're trying by the end of the year to be the best defense in the country," Boyd said.


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