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Golden Medals: Cal Men's Soccer in control of own destiny for conference title and home field

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Big weekend of Olympic Sports action is taking place in Berkeley this weekend: Big Splash, Men's Soccer maintaining perfect home record, etc.

This picture is technically from the 1st time that we beat UCLA, but the gist of how beating UCLA makes us happy is still valid.
This picture is technically from the 1st time that we beat UCLA, but the gist of how beating UCLA makes us happy is still valid.
Cal Men's Soccer

Schedule

With Cal Football on a bye, it's a big weekend of Olympic Sports action in Berkeley.

Both the men and women's swimming wrap their fall season today against Wisconsin at 1pm.

Cal Men's Swimming took 15 of 19 events in a non-scored meet against Stanfurd on Wednesday. Just taking a wild guess, I think Cal would have easily won if someone was keeping score.

By the way, Cal Women's Swimming has finally joined the Twitter-verse. Follow them at @CalWSwim.

Cal Men's Soccer hosts Oregon State at the same time as the swim meet. They will host Washington on Sunday. Both matches are on the Pac-12 Networks.

Cal Volleyball is home this weekend against the Arizona schools. Check the info on the road closure due to the Berkeley Half Marathon on Sunday. Tonight's match against ASU is streamed for free online while Sunday's match is on the Pac-12 Networks.

Big Splash, for whatever reason this year, is not played right before the Big Game. Instead, it will take place this Saturday morning at 10:30 AM. Match will take be broadcasted on the Pac-12 Networks.

Finally, rugby fans get to enjoy the Golden Bears defending their PAC 7s title when the tournament is played on Saturday and Sunday up at Wittier.

Fri,
Nov 7
Field Hockey NorPac Semifinals: Liberty Stockton, CA 11:30 a.m. Live Stream Live Event Live Stats
Fri,
Nov 7
Men's Soccer Oregon State Berkeley, CA 1:00 p.m. Live Stats
Fri,
Nov 7
Men's Swimming & Diving Wisconsin Berkeley, CA 1:00 p.m. Live Stats
Fri,
Nov 7
Women's Swimming & Diving Wisconsin Berkeley, CA 1:00 p.m. Live Stats
Fri,
Nov 7
Volleyball Arizona State Berkeley, CA 7:00 p.m. Live Stream Live Event Live Stats
Sat,
Nov 8
Field Hockey NorPac Championships Stockton, CA All Day Live Stats
Sat,
Nov 8
Men's Tennis USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships New York, NY All Day
Sat,
Nov 8
Women's Crew Head of the Lagoon Redwood City, CA All Day
Sat,
Nov 8
Women's Tennis USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships New York, NY All Day Live Stats
Sat,
Nov 8
Women's Tennis Arizona State Thunderbird Invitational Tempe, AZ All Day
Sat,
Nov 8
Men's Crew Head of the Lagoon Foster City, CA All Day
Sat,
Nov 8
Women's Water Polo Collegiate Cup Irvine, CA All Day
Sat,
Nov 8
Rugby PAC Rugby 7s Championship: Pool A vs. Stanford Berkeley, CA 9:00 a.m.
Sat,
Nov 8
Men's Water Polo Stanford Berkeley, CA 10:30 a.m. Pac-12 Network
Sat,
Nov 8
Rugby PAC Rugby 7s Championship: Pool A vs. Oregon State Berkeley, CA 10:30 a.m.
Sat,
Nov 8
Rugby PAC Rugby 7s Championship: Pool A vs. Arizona Berkeley, CA 12:20 p.m.
Sat,
Nov 8
Rugby PAC Rugby 7s Championship: Pool A vs. Arizona State Berkeley, CA 3:20 p.m.
Sun,
Nov 9
Men's Tennis USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships New York, NY All Day
Sun,
Nov 9
Women's Tennis USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships New York, NY All Day Live Stats
Sun,
Nov 9
Women's Tennis Arizona State Thunderbird Invitational Tempe, AZ All Day
Sun,
Nov 9
Rugby PAC Rugby 7s Championship Berkeley, CA All Day
Sun,
Nov 9
Volleyball Arizona Berkeley, CA 11:00 a.m. Live Stats
Sun,
Nov 9
Men's Soccer Washington Berkeley, CA 1:00 p.m. Live Stats

Men's Soccer (10-3-1, 4-2-1 in Pac-12)

The Golden Bears have shown that last season's success is no fluke, and that they are a serious NCAA title contender in 2014. At their best, the Bears can beat any team in the country.

The Bears have rise to No.7 (from No.17) in the coaches poll this week after defeating then No.1 UCLA down at Westwood on Sunday. Check our live blog/comment recap here.

Cal 1, UCLA 0

After some early season concern about the Bears' backline and rightfully so given the loss to MLS (and graduation) of Steve Birnbaum and Christian Dean. The Bears played their best defensive game on Sunday in shutting out the UCLA Bruins. Justin Taillole posted the shutout with plenty of help from the entire Bears defense.

Taillole, it should be noted, was brilliant both last year and this year. However, due to an undisclosed at the time injury, Taillole actually did not play late last year or in the post season run. While Alex Mangels did a great job last year, one has to figure that Taillole got plenty to prove this postseason and could be the X-factor for the Bears.

Taking advantage of a careless goaltending mistake, Bears' Connor Hallisey capitalized on this goal for the lone score.

The UCLA win is on the heel of a big road win over the SDSU Aztecs.

Cal 2, San Diego State 1

Scoring Summary
Cal – 23:11 Christian Thierjung (Omid Jalali and Jose Carrera-Garcia)
SDSU – 69:06 Rene Reyes (Sergio Enriquez)
Cal – 82:19 Paul Salcedo (Connor Hallisey)

Bears played without senior striker Stefano Bonomo in this one (Bonomo returned for the UCLA match).

***********************************************************************

In the possibly more important ranking of the RPI, the Bears are sitting at No.5. Since the top 4 seeds in the NCAA tournament gets homefield all the way until the College Cup (NCAA Soccer's Final Four...someone love alliterations), the Bears will get the chance to move into the top 4 should they be able to defend their home field in the regular season's final 3 matches.

While Washington (this Sunday at 1pm) and Stanfurd (next Sunday at 1pm) are the ranked opponents, the Bears should not overlook Oregon State today. Bears actually opened conference play with road losses at Washington and Oregon State to start the year. The 6-2 loss to the Beavers is by far the worse loss of the year for the Bears.

Let's look at the Pac-12 Table.

STANDINGS

Teams Pts Conf Overall
UCLA 17 5-2-2 10-4-4
WASHINGTON 13 4-2-1 11-3-1
CALIFORNIA 13 4-2-1 10-3-1
STANFORD 12 3-1-3 10-2-3
OREGON STATE 7 2-4-1 9-6-1
SAN DIEGO STATE 3 1-8-0 7-11-0

It's clear that the Bears are in control of their destiny when it comes to the conference title. While UCLA is in the lead and only has the bottom dwelling San Diego State left, both Cal and Washington have the possibility to surpass UCLA by one point if either team wins out.

While the path to winning out is really tough with a top 11 RPI opponents in Washington (11th) and Stanfurd (6th) left, the Bears do boast a perfect 6-0-0 record at home. By continuing showing their home prowess, the Bears will get to stay in Berkeley all the way until the College Cup, like last year (where the Bears fell just short of the Final Four, losing in the Elite Eight to the visiting Maryland Terrapins).

Women's Soccer (13-5-2, 5-4-2 in Pac-12)

Bears wrapped the regular season with a 3-2 loss to Stanfurd yesterday. Nevertheless, No.22 Bears are a lock for the NCAA tournament. They should also be good for at least a home game in the 64 team tournament (if I'm not mistaken).

After jumping out to a quick 1-0 lead, the Bears allowed an equalizer (off a free kick that wasn't defended particularly well) in under two minutes. While Furd turned a 1-1 halftime draw into a 3-1 lead (including a Cal foul in the box that turned into a PK), the Bears never quit and fought back hard. After missing the open net for a chance for her second goal of the match, Celeste Boureille did score on a header to make it 3-2. Bears then got another shot at knotting the match up but can't get an equalizer.

HEAD COACH NEIL MCGUIRE’S TAKE

McGuire says: I thought our team responded tremendously well to playing against an outstanding opponent in Stanford. They are a fantastic team, well-coached by Coach Ratcliffe. To score the first goal was exciting. To give up one almost on the back of that was a little disappointing, but I think the players reacted well to make it 1-1 at halftime. We gave up two disappointing goals to go 3-1 down, but we responded very well. We scored a great goal to put us at 3-2 and we had opportunities to tie it up. This is a learning opportunity for us. We have the NCAA Tournament coming forward and we’re excited about what lies ahead.

GOLDEN BEAR GOALS

4’ – Celeste Boureille (assisted by Kory Lamet) – passed from left side into far right corner

Boureille says: The first goal was a great ball by Kory Lamet. It got on my left foot and I shot it into the far right corner.

88’ – Celeste Boureille (assisted by Indigo Gibson) – Gibson passed from right side of field and Boureille headed it into the left of the net

Boureille says: Indigo always sends that great ball in and I just flicked it in with my head to the bottom corner.

STANFORD GOALS

6’ – Alex Doll (assisted by Taylor Uhl) – Uhl headed the ball to the center of the box and Doll chipped it in

59’ – Taylor Uhl (assisted by Lo’eau LaBonta) – With Uhl waiting at right post, LaBonta passed it to her

61’ – Lo’eau LaBonta – Penalty Kick


You can relive this match via our live blog/comment here.

Here is the very nice goal from the Bears, just 3 and a half minutes into the match.

Bears will now wait until Monday at 1:30 PM PT to find out their postseason fate in the NCAA Selection Show, which is streamed for free on NCAA.com.

Men's Water Polo (20-4, 4-2 in MPSF)

No.4 Bears drop a match to a team not named USC, Stanfurd, or UCLA this past weekend. After destroying UC Santa Barbara by a 20-10 score on Saturday, the Bears dropped the Sunday match to No.5 Long Beach State 12-10.

"We are obviously disappointed in the loss," said Everist. "We had a lot shots that were right there, but just didn’t go in. We might have rushed it at times and we got a little out of sorts in the third period. Being outscored, 5-2, in the third really hurt us. Long Beach State played well and we just weren’t able to get any momentum going in the second half. Still, there are several important matches coming up, so we’ll keep on battling."

The Bears host the Big Splash on Saturday morning at 10:30 AM, in the fight for the Steve Heaston Trophy (named after the former Cal coach who passed away in 1999). Bears and Furd have combined to win 23 national titles (13 for Cal, 10 for the other guys). The match will be on the Pac-12 Networks and we will have an open thread here.

This is the next to last regular season match for the Bears with a trip to USC the following weekend prior to the always important MPSF tournament.

Field Hockey in NorPac Tournament action this week

Bears are in Stockton, CA this week for the NorPac Tournament against fellow NorCal schools in Stanfurd, UC Davis, and Pacific as well as two east coast school in Appalachian State and Liberty.

Bears need to win the tournament for the conference automatic bid to make the NCAA tournament.

Cal 3, Appalachian State 1

Bears took care of business in the opening round by scoring two quick goals in the first 5 minutes. With a 2-0 halftime lead, the Bears eventually won 3-1 to advance to the semifinal against Liberty today.

California’s senior attacking trio all scored goals Thursday to lead the Golden Bears to a 3-1 win over Appalachian State in the NorPac Tournament opening round.

Lara Kruggel and Nicole Wallstedt scored back-to-back goals in the fifth and sixth minutes, and Andrea Earle added the final tally in the 61st minute to propel the Bears (8-9) to the conference tournament semifinal for the third time in four years. Cal will face the top seed from the East, Liberty, at 11:30 a.m. Friday.

Bears will take on Liberty (the University, not the concept) at 11:30 AM today.

All the action this weekend from Pacific is streamed live (and for free) here.

GOAL ON YOU BEARS!

Volleyball (8-14, 0-12 in Pac-12)

If you're concerned about Bears going winless in conference this year, that feat was just accomplished by the Oregon State Beavers last year. Of course, the Beavers are back to at least 5 wins on the year in conference in 2014, with two of them at the expense of the Bears.

Watching the matches, the Bears really have shown the ability to be competitive (and win some sets), but ultimately I think this year's young squad is flawed in too many rotations. When you have rotations without a clear offensive weapon, you are doomed to give up a few straight points to the opponent. It is hard to win sets (and consequently matches) this way.

The Bears have now lost in 4 sets in their last 5 matches. They will take on ASU (who they lost in 4 sets down in Tempe) tonight and Arizona on Sunday morning. I still believe that the Bears will win a conference match this year, but the opportunities are running out (just 8 matches left).

Cross Country

If I can be accused of being negatively biased toward any of the 30 Cal sports, it would probably have to be cross country, which I often completely forgot about its existence (I also didn't enjoy running the hill in PE back in high school). Anyhow, the XC season has wind down so here is in a quick blurb.

Cal played host for the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships in Oakland last weekend. Here is head coach Tony Sandoval (who is in charge of 6 sports - Cross Country, Indoor Track and Field (Men and Women) and Outdoor Track and Field (Men and Women)) recapping the Bears' performance.

GO BEARS!