Fall Sports Top Play
In the Fall Sports recap post 3 weeks ago, we had a poll at the end for the top Olympic Sports play of the Fall 2014. With less than a week in the 2014 calendar year, it is time to reveal the winner.
Here it is:
Christian Thierjung's Golden Goal over then No.2 UCLA for 3-2 OT win in Berkeley on October 10th overwhelmingly, with 80% of the votes, beats out other postseason Golden Goal for Women's Soccer (by Arielle Ship) and other achievements in Men's Water Polo, Volleyball, Cross Country, and Field Hockey to win the top honor for the top play of the Cal Olympic sports fall season*. One of the other option was the other Cal Men's Soccer win over UCLA (1-0 at Westwood) which I had thought would split the votes, but YOU the CGB readers and Cal fans have spoken in support of the easily most success Cal program of this fall season.
*To be clear, we are only considering the plays from "fall sports" in the poll rather than sports that played in the fall season but have their national championships in the winter/spring like Rugby 7s, swimming, golf, etc.
Congratulations to Christian Thierjung and Cal Men's Soccer for that memorable moment. If we actually have an actual "Golden Medal" to give out through this Golden Medal column, Thierjung would be getting one (feel free to permanently link to this page on your LinkedIn though). The Bears were able to defeat UCLA (ranked No.2 and then No.1) twice in the regular season before falling just short against them in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. UCLA did make it to the NCAA Final Four (the College Cup) but lost in the championship match to Virginia in penalty kicks, denying the Pac-12 of the NCAA Championship sweep of all the fall male sports (UCLA won Men's Water Polo, Colorado won Men's Cross Country...of course, Oregon may win Football to give the conference the biggest championship of the fall).
Cal Women's Gymnastics
Looking ahead into 2015, amongst the first Cal sports to compete (other than men's and women's basketball) is Cal gymnastics (both men and women).
The Cal Women's Team is coming off a program best 4th place finish in the conference championships (hosted by Cal last year). With the young (4 freshman and 8 sophomores) team getting more experienced and the program on a very positive trajectory, this year's squad is faced with a higher expectation in the form of the highest preseason ranking in program history.
To celebrate the 14th overall ranking (and there are tons more women's gymnastics program than the men's, by the way). The team has been counting down to their season debut via Twitter. They are full of interesting facts concerning the various team members.
17 more days until our season opener! pic.twitter.com/bXI9NuxRtC— Cal W Gymnastics (@calwgym) December 18, 2014
Exactly 2 weeks away! pic.twitter.com/dmj3IQhmng— Cal W Gymnastics (@calwgym) December 21, 2014
Where is this video?
Today marks 9 days away from the season opener, when the Bears will compete in the NorCal Classic at UC Davis.
Can't make it out to cheer on the Bears in person? Cal will be featured on the Pac-12 Networks 5 times in 2015 in 3 conference meets (UCLA, Stanford, Arizona) and against UC Davis. The 5th time will be the Pac-12 Championships.
Cal Men's Gymnastics
The men's opener is a little bit later on January 10th. It will be a home opener dual meet against Stanford (1 of 4 times on the year) in a meet that is known as the "Big Flip Off" (the official Stanford athletics site appears to be the main proponent of this name, based on a quick web search).
The Cal Men's Gymnastics' Social Media game is not quite as up to par as that of the women's, so I don't have any fun Twitter or Instagram pictures to share here.
In its storied history, the Cal Men's Gymnastics program has won 4 NCAA team titles and numerous individual titles. They were also one of the programs on the chopping block recently along with Baseball. It is uncertain how much of a lost recruiting year has affected the program (current head coach Brett McClure only joined the program in June of 2013 after finding plenty of success as an assistant coach down at The Farm) although it just recently signed (via the NLI) a member of the Canadian national team member in Aaron Mah.
Nevertheless, the Bears will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks for their March 8th meet against powerhouse Oklahoma.
Because winning online honor from a sports blog is very, very prestigious and important, a big congrats to Cal Men's Swimming head coach Dave Durden for another very well deserved recognition.
Coach Durden, of course, led the Bears to the 2014 NCAA team national championship title, which was also the 3rd title in 4 years for the program. The program is of course also in great shape with another year of top recruits joining as well as alum who are training in Berkeley like Nathan Adrian, Anthony Ervin, Tom Shields, and even Natalie Coughlin (who is now training with the men to reinvent her career as a sprinter) winning all kind of races.
I think someone's on the short list for the CGB HoF honor.