Men's Soccer: Cal Will Face Staggering Stanford Twice in Two Weeks

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Well, maybe not in men's soccer.

It did win the Pac-10 last year. And it has spent most of its season ranked No. 1 in the country. And the last time Cal beat the No. 8 Cardinal was in 1996.

But, surprise surprise, the Bears say things are different this year.

"They may come out and think we're the same old Cal team, but this definitely is a different team," goalie Josh Saunders said.

With six games remaining, the Bears (10-3-1) have already equalled last year's win total.

Stanford comes into the game reeling for the first time this season.

A recent skid-tying unranked Fresno State 0-0 and falling to No. 6 UCLA 1-0-dropped the Cardinal to No. 8 in the rankings.

Seven spots behind it stands Cal, a decided underdog in this weekend's match if history is any guide.

But the Bears are trying to focus more on the present and forget the past.

"I think we are going to kick their ass," Saunders said. "I think they're full of themselves."

Last year, the Cardinal came into Edwards Stadium and came out with a 2-0 victory.

It was Cal's sixth loss in the two teams' last seven meetings, the other a tie. The Bears scored only one goal in those seven games.

Since 1972, Stanford leads the series 19-7-5.

This weekend's match is the first of two in a row between the teams. The next comes a week from today at Stanford.

"We both have aspirations to win the Pac-10," midfielder Garrett Terracciano said. "We can't afford to lose both of them."

Saturday's match will be the first since the Bears' record setting nine-game win streak ended last Sunday at UCLA.

"The loss sucked," Terracciano said. "It was probably good for us because it brought us down a level-we didn't play that good against Fresno either."

The Bears have to keep reminding themselves they are one of the best teams in the country.

"We used to be like, if we won, it was cool," Terracciano said. "Now we want to win every game."

Until last weekend, the only blemish on Stanford's record was a 3-1 defeat to Tulsa, a team that two days later Cal beat 2-0.

"They lost to Tulsa and tied Fresno State, which we beat, so they've got to have that in the back of their minds," Acosta said.

Never mind the back of their minds, on the forefront of Cal's thinking will be a century-long tradition of animosity toward the red and white.

"They're the kind of team that walks out there and thinks they're going to win," Acosta said. "It makes us hate them and we want to beat them so bad."

The Cal-Stanford rivalry is nothing new. But for the first time in a long time, the Bears can field a team that is not just a rival, but an equal.


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