Women's Soccer: Nervous Bears Just Can't Make It Happen in L.A.





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The latest edition of the Cal-UCLA rivalry played out like a Hollywood script, complete with a large crowd, a dramatic goal-line stand, and a victory by the home team.

Unfortunately for the No. 5 Cal women's soccer team, this is Los Angeles and the Bruins always win.

No. 12 UCLA (9-3, 1-1 Pac-10) survived a last-second scare from All-American Laura Schott to prevail 1-0 Friday for its fourth consecutive victory over Cal.

The Bears (7-4-1, 0-2 Pac-10) had more problems two days later when they were blanked by No. 15 USC, 2-0.

Despite coming into its Pac-10 opener off a win over No. 7 Wake Forest, Cal seemed to suffer a bout of stage fright against UCLA.

"We didn't play particularly well," Cal coach Kevin Boyd said. "For whatever reason, we were nervous."

Lindsay Greco put the Bruins on top in the 25th minute, heading in Jill Oakes' cross. It proved to be enough against an anemic Bears offense.

Not only was Cal shut out for the first time all year, but it was also outshot 12-3.

The three shots are the Bears' lowest count since Nov. 9, 2001. Coincidentally, that game also resulted in a loss to the Bruins.

The Bears' best opportunity to score came in the 89th minute, when Cal was awarded a free kick one yard outside the penalty box.

Instead of using free kick specialist Carly Fuller, the Bears elected to go with Schott.

"Carly wasn't having her best game so Laura stepped up to take the kick," Boyd said.

Schott almost sent the game into overtime with a laser.

Her attempt struck the Bruins' goalpost and bounced back onto the field of play. Following a scramble in front of the net, the ball was cleared and the Cal threat was neutralized.

The problems did not stop with UCLA. A lackluster performance against USC caused the Bears to drop consecutive games for the first time all season.

"We just didn't put the effort out there," Boyd said. "USC is a good team and they outworked us."

The game went into halftime scoreless, but the Trojans (6-4-3, 1-1 Pac-10) surged in the second half with goals by Amy Mann and Ali Fennell.

The road woes continue to haunt the Bears, who have a combined 2-3-1 record away from home compared to a 5-1 record at Edwards Stadium.

"Everyone was really upset about the weekend," forward Tracy Hamm said. "Our team just doesn't do very well on the road."

With the two losses, the Bears' chances of a conference crown are bleak at best.

"The two losses probably eliminate our chances at winning the Pac-10," Boyd said.

The Bears will look to rebound at home against Pac-10 rivals Oregon and Oregon State next week.

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