Cal Olympic Sports Week in Review, September 2nd, 2013

Photo from the Cal-Maryland match last year. This year turned out a whole lot better. - LEastCoastBears

Cal Olympics Sports are off to an excellent start with Men's Soccer triumph over two of the top 3 ranked teams, Women's Soccer is undefeated in 4 matches, Volleyball was dominant in two home matches, and Field Hockey split two games against tough East Coast opponents. Men's Water Polo also gets ready to open their season this weekend. GO BEARS!

After a full week of action, with mostly home openers, Cal Olympic Sports are off to a pretty good start all around. The team of the week, clearly, was the Cal Men's Soccer who defeated both the preseason 3rd ranked Georgetown and the 2nd ranked Maryland. Here is your weekly recap of what has happened in Cal Olympic Sports and what to look for in the coming week.

Cal Athletics apparently have the same idea as CGB in having its own Olympic Sports videos (rather than tagging them in the end of the football stuff like in the past). Here is the first video from that.


Cal Men's Soccer

Bears are off to a great start. A new starter at goalie has emerged for the Bears in redshirt sophomore Justin Taillole.

Cal 2, Georgetown 0

Game highlights from Pac-12.com

The season kicked off to a glorious start when the Bears defeated the Georgetown Hoyas (3rd ranked after becoming the NCAA runner ups) in fairly dominant fashion. The match was scoreless until late in the first when junior midfielder Connor Hallisey scored from distance. Early in the second half, junior forward Steve Bonomo drew a penalty inside the box and 5th year senior Steve Birnbaum converted the penalty to give the Bears a 2-0 lead which they were able to preserve.

Cal 3, Maryland 2 OT


Game highlights from Pac-12.com

On Sunday, the Bears took on another top 3 opponent, this time the Maryland Terrapins. Bears jumped out to another early lead (Steve Birnbaum with a header from a corner) and dominated in possession and led 1-0 at the half. Terps fought back early (less than 2 minutes into the half) in the 2nd half, however, as they scored an equalizer (by Schillo Tshuma). Bears took back the lead with a goal by Stefano Bonomo at 50:35 but Maryland got yet another equalizer at 78:04 (from Jackson Pace), taking advantage of some confusion defensively from the Bears side and a lucky bounce.

Things stay knotted going into the sudden death OT (two periods of 10 minutes each which would end the match in a tie if no scores after the extra 20 minutes). Without ever given the Terps a chance, the Bears drew a free kick and turned that into a corner. Then.

Just like that, the Bears stay perfect on the season and took down two top 3 opponents in a span of 48 hours.

Alec Sundley Interview

Steve Birnbaum Interview

While these two results are great experiences to fall back on when the going gets tough later in the season, the Bears know better than to let it go to their heads.

"Our players are so experienced and so smart, they don’t look at polls," Grimes said. "They don’t look at rankings. They don’t look at the jersey of the opponent. Every game is the same. There is no big game. They’re all the same. We looked at these games as just games one and two, and the next game we go play is game three, and then we go play like that for all 18."

The rest of the Pac did pretty well this past weekend as well. UCLA managed to get an 1-0 win at No.1 (and defending NCAA champs) Indiana Hoosiers.

Here is the way too early standings. Definitely like who is listed at the top and who is listed last (Furd played the same two teams as the Bears).

STANDINGS

School Conference Record Conference Points Overall Record
Cal 0-0-0 0 2-0-0
Oregon State 0-0-0 0 2-0-0
Washington 0-0-0 0 1-0-0
UCLA 0-0-0 0 1-0-1
San Diego State 0-0-0 0 1-1-0
Stanford 0-0-0 0 0-1-1

Coming up next:

Bears only got one match this week, Cal takes on San Francisco at San Francisco in another non-conference match on Thursday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m.

Cal Women's Soccer

Women's Soccer are on their 2nd week of action, but first homestand. With a doubleheaders with the Men's team, the Women's were also perfect at Goldman Field in Edwards Stadium.

Bears first took care of business against Detroit on Friday. The Bear Den (the new Cal Soccer fan club for both the men and the women) sounded pretty raucous.


On Sunday, the Bears got a 3-0 win over San Jose State.

By the way, the Women's Soccer team did this video over the summer when they went to Costa Rica for some games.


Coming up next:

Bears are also playing at San Francisco this weekend, with matches against Harvard on Friday at 4:30 PM and UC Davis on Sunday at 1:30 PM.

Cal Volleyball

After a tough season (but yet another NCAA berth), by the lofty standard set by head coach Rich Feller in the last decade, the Bears opened 2013 in fairly dominant fashion in the Cal Molten Classics when they defeated both Nevada and New Mexico State in 3 sets.

Bears defeated Nevada, 25-11, 25-12, 25-20, on Friday and New Mexico State (led by former Cal Bears Lauren Loerch), 25-16, 25-18, 25-19.

Out of the three heralded freshmen, Maddy Kerr has taken over the starting libero spot from sophomore Mary McKennon. The combination of Kerr and McKennon gave the Bears a solid backcourt (at least from the portion of the match against Nevada that I watched). Redshirt sophomore Michlle Neumayr, a former top prospect out of high school that have been hurt the past two years, finally got the chance to make her Cal debut and she looked very good in taking over for the graduated Corey Johnson. In other changes from last year, Lilian Schonewise and Lara Vukasovic are two new starters who picked up the slack left by the since graduated Shannon Hawari and Kat Brown.

Freshman outside hitter Janelle Jordan got a bit of run (and her role would probably grow as the season goes on and she gets better). With senior Joan Caloiaro still the main setter, freshman Alyssa Jensen (who played on a Pac-12 traveling team to China during the summer) would have to wait her turn to be the new Cal Volleyball QB.

A know healthy senior Adrienne Gehan led the Bears with 26 kills over the two matches. At least in the early going, it look like Gehan will have plenty of help this season (so the Bears don't have to revert back to the Hana Cutura days when they give Cutura 50+ swings every game).

Daily Cal did a preview of the team and how the expectation is lowered.

Three years ago, the Bears were in the NCAA Championships. Last year, they went 15-16, their first losing season since 2001. In the midst of that disappointing campaign, the team dropped out of the top 25 for the first time since 2002.

With 2010's run to the title match now a fading memory, the expectations on the Cal squad for this year are much more tempered. No one is picking the Bears to make a deep run in the NCAAs or even to win the Pac-12. The pressure from the accomplishments of that 2010 squad is long gone.

"Competing every single game would be my goal," Gehan said. "I want to compete for a Pac-12 championship to begin with, and we'll see from there."

Coach Feller's goals are even more modest.

"We want to finish at least above where we finished last year in the Pac-12, and we want to go one step further in the tournament than last year," he said. "Everything is at least one notch better than last year."

Taking that literally would mean a fifth-place finish in the Pac-12 and a win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Cal was picked by Pac-12 coaches to finish seventh in the conference, so reaching Feller's goals- - and even exceeding them - is by no means a stretch.

With one week of action, there are some optimism that the Bears will surprise this year.

Coming up next:

Bears travel to Omaha, Nebraska to play in a tournament hosted by Creighton. Games will be streamed by the Creighton site but would cost $5 to $6.

9/6 Friday
1:30 PM: Cal Volleyball vs. South Florida, online audio (free), video ($)

9/7 Saturday
8 AM: Cal Volleyball vs. Northern Colorado, online audio (free), video($)
5:30 PM: Cal Volleyball vs. Creighton, online audio (free), video($)


Cal Field Hockey

Field Hockey opened the year with a pair of matches played in Stanfurd against visiting East Coast teams. In a very even match against Michigan State, Bears had to go to shootouts to beat the Spartans. Relive that game via the CalBears.com Live Blog.


On Sunday, the Bears took on the 4th ranked UConn Huskies. Bears score the following goal.


This was not enough, however, as the Huskies won by a score of 2-1.

Bears to watch for the season (from CalBears.com game notes):

Two Bears return from NFHCA All-West Region years in junior Lara Kruggel and senior Shannon Elmitt. Kruggel led the Golden Bears with 18 goals and 44 points - both good for fifth in the Cal record book - and was second on the team with eight assists en route to also being named the NorPac West Offensive Player of the Year. She finised the season 11th in the nation in points per game at 2.20. Elmitt was named to the All-West second team for the second year in a row and was the assist leader for the Bears with nine.

Coming up next:

The home debut for the Bears is this Friday.

9/6 Friday
4 PM: Cal Field Hockey vs. Dartmouth, Pac-12 Networks

On Sunday, without TV, Bears will host Liberty at 2 PM.


Cal Men's Water Polo

The Men's Water Polo season get's underway this weekend with the Triton invitation at San Diego. Kirk Everist's men are ranked 4th in the preseason. 5 all-american returns for the Bears including Calympian Aleksa Saponjic. The full list are - first-team selection Collin Smith (senior attacker), second-team pick Aleksa Saponjic (junior attacker), and honorable mentions Hunter Gettelfinger (senior attacker), Jon Sibley (junior goalie) and Colin Mulcahy (sophomore attacker).

More about the team (from CalBears.com):

Smith, the team captain for the 2013 campaign, led the Bears in scoring last year with 61 goals, twice earning MPSF Player of the Week honors. Saponjic was second on the team in scoring in 2012 with 45 goals after helping Serbia capture a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics in London. Gettelfinger notched 20 goals and was a top defender with a team-high 46 steals. Sibley had 110 saves in 12 matches, including 12 saves in his first collegiate match against top-ranked USC, while Mulcahy tallied 25 goals in 25 matches and was second on the squad with 29 ejections earned as a redshirt freshman.

On the TV front:

The Bears will be televised six times on the Pac-12 Networks during the 2013 regular season. Cal’s six televised matches this fall are more than any other team in the MPSF. A huge TV match will be when USC visits Cal’s Spieker Aquatics Complex on Nov. 9 (time TBA). The Bears make five additional appearances on the Pac-12 Networks – Oct. 5 versus Pacific (time TBA), Nov. 1 at UCLA at 4:30 p.m., Nov. 14 versus Santa Clara at 2 p.m., Nov. 17 versus UC Irvine at 11 a.m., and Nov. 23 at Stanford for the Big Splash (time TBA).

Coming up next:

Cal begins its 2013 season Sept. 7-8 at the Triton Invitational in San Diego. On Saturday, Sept. 7, the Bears will play the University of Redlands at 12:30 p.m. and host UC San Diego at 4:30 p.m. at Triton Pool on the UC San Diego campus. On Sunday, Sept. 8, Cal will face Loyola Marymount at 9:30 a.m. and UC Davis at 2:30 p.m. on UC San Diego's East Pool.

GO BEARS!

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