Before we get to the updates and synapses for the various Cal sports, here are the upcoming Cal events with a stream or TV coverage this weekend. CGB will also have open threads for Cal fans to discuss the action and results.
TV/Stream Schedule for This Weekend
Cal Rugby (17-2, 5-0 in PAC)
Postseason Status: Hosting Semifinal on Saturday
Snapping an uncharacteristic two match losing streak, the Bears took care of business down in UCLA last week in the Varsity Cup Super Regional. Bears defeated UCLA 41-0, where senior captain Seamus Kelly scored 3 tries.
(Hat tip to SoCal Oski for the link to the video)
The Bears host Central Washington on Wittier on Saturday afternoon at 1:30 pm. Central Washington edged Utah 25-24 in the UCLA Super Regional last week.
The time of the match is designed so Cal fans can stop by this big Cal Rugby match (last home match of the season, by the way) AFTER attending the Cal Spring Game. Here is more info:
Saturday’s semifinal in Strawberry Canyon between the Wildcats (14-0, 8-0 NCRC) and Golden Bears (17-2, 5-0 PAC) kicks off following the Cal Spring Football Game, giving fans an exciting chance to enjoy gridiron across the street before sitting down to the final home match of the year for the Blue and Gold. To offer fans better access and expanded parking options, a continuous free shuttle service between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. will run to and from the corner of Rim Way and Centennial Avenue from Underhill Lot on Channing Street between College Avenue and Bowditch Street.
For those fans who can not make it to Berkeley, this semifinal match will be streamed live and free on Pac-12 Digital. CGB will have an open thread to update you and let you chat about this match.
Coming up (if the Bears win on Saturday):
Looking a little bit ahead, the Varsity Cup National Championship final, should the Bears make a return, would take place in Salt Lake City next Saturday on May 3rd. NBC Sports Network will have live coverage of that final between the winners of Cal-CWU and BYU-Navy.
Cal Baseball (16-20, 5-10 in Pac-12)
Postseason Outlook: Need to win every series left to be eligible (11-6 or better)
The NCAA postseason for College Baseball includes 64 teams. Thanks to its 8 wins so far over ranked opponents, Cal actually still have a RPI of 63 right now, despite a losing record that would prevent them from being eligible for the postseason. Interestingly, the only team with a higher RPI (28) and a losing record is none other than the opponents for this weekend, a team from Leland Stanford Junior University.
Unfortunately, for the Bears, they were merely 1-3 in this past week. A 1-2 record at home to a top 10 ranked and the conference leading Washington Huskies team is understandably, but the Bears followed that up with a 7-4 road loss on Tuesday to Fresno State.
With 17 games left, the Bears need to go 11-6 the rest of the way to finish above 0.500 and be eligible for the postseason. Given the quality of their opponents, a record like that will also likely improve Cal's RPI to the safe region. To achieve this record, the Bears have to basically win all the remaining series by nearly taking 2 out of 3 each weekend as well as the home-and-home against San Francisco midweek.
pac-12 Baseball STANDINGS
In the remaining series, the Bears face Stanfurd for 3 this weekend (Saturday through Monday). Then next weekend, the Bears host a tough Oregon State team for 3 in Evans Diamond. Oregon State is by far the highest ranked opponents left. Bears will then travel to USC for a 3 game series which will be tough but possibly manageable given the middle of the Pac status of the Trojans, then finish with a 3 game set against Arizona at home. In between, there will be two midweek games against San Francisco (who has beaten the Bears 1-0 during the Cal Baseball Classic early in the season).
Other than mixed result from the midweek starter (freshman Alex Martinez this past Tuesday at Fresno State), the Bears have good and consistent pitching from the trio of Daulton Jefferies, Kyle Porter, and Ryan Mason. In recent weeks, freshmen Lucas Erceg, Robbie Tenerowicz, and Aaron Knapp have found their way to a regular spot in the starting lineup.
So the Bears got to take it one series at a time to try to claw their way back to the postseason. Given the presence of seniors Devon Rodriguez, Derek Campbell, and Kyle Porter on the team that had experienced that College World Series run in the face of a program elimination, maybe this team can post some late season magic this year.
Cal Softball (23-20, 4-9 in Pac-12)
Postseason Outlook: Need to go 3-6 or better to be eligible
Cal Softball is in a 20+ year streak of making it to the postseason. Thanks to a 10 game win streak about a month ago, the Bears are still in a decent shape of being postseason eligible with a better than 0.500 record (at least compares to Cal Baseball). By RPI, the Bears are currently 54th in the country. 9 games remain in the regular season for the Golden Bears, so they would need to go at least 3-6 to be post season eligible but probably needs to be better than that to feel safe about a return to the NCAA regional play.
Given the graduation of Jolene Henderson (now playing softball in Japan), the expectation was actually kind of low for this year's team with the Bears picked to finish 7th in the conference.
pac-12 softball STANDINGS
Bears have actually outperformed, slightly, that projection by currently being in 6th place in the conference.
While freshman Stephanie Traczynski has emerged as the Bears' most reliable starter, pitching still remains the worrisome side of this year's team. Sophomore Nisa Ontiveros and freshmen Katie Sutherland-Finch and Taylor Cotton will likely also be called on to provide some quality innings. Junior SS Cheyenne Cordes at the top of the lineup has been the Bears' most consistent hitter and a Pac-12 leader in homers. The rest of the Cal lineup is fairly well experienced and strong until the bottom of the order.
To go 3-6 (but hopefully better), the Bears would need to accomplish that in 3 remaining series. First up are the UCLA Bruins who are ranked 2nd in the country. A win in this series would do magic for the Bears on the RPI front, however hard that may be. The other two opponents, Utah and Washington have similar conference record as the Bears although Washington has a good RPI in the 20s while Utah are in the late 60s.
Not being swept by the Bruins this weekend would be a huge lift.
Cal Women's Water Polo (17-7, 2-4 in MPSF)
Postseason Outlook: Likely need to win the MPSF tournament this weekend for the automatic bid
Although 8 teams are in the NCAA field, there are merely 2 at large bids. With the Bears in the best water polo conference, a No.4 ranking like they currently have would mean that the Bears will be on the outside looking in.
Bears missed out a chance to boost their ranking and resume when they fell to the top ranked 'Furd 9-6 in the Big Splash last week.
In addition to being a chance to get the automatic bid for the NCAA tournament should they win, the Bears will also get the chance to try to pad their resume by beating a top team.
Cal are currently ranked 4th in the country behind No.1 Furd and 2 and 3 in UCLA and USC. Bears will open MPSF tournament against the 5th ranked San Jose State today for the right to play Stanfurd on Saturday. Bears would definitely need a win today and likely a win tomorrow to possibly get in the NCAA tournament field.
One thing to note is that the MPSF Tournament is NOT a single elimination tournament as there are loser's bracket games. Can the Bears lose to 'Furd but beat a UCLA or USC in the 3rd place game to jump ahead of them? There's a slim chance of this.
Cal Lacrosse (5-11, 3-6 in MPSF)
The season came to a close for the Bears yesterday at 'Furd. Despite leading 3-1 early in the first half, the Bears lost 18-7 to 'Furd by the time the game (and the season) came to an end. While the Bears do graduate 5 seniors on the team, the emergence of two star freshmen (goalie Katie Gutierrez and forward Bella Huther) this year, particularly late, are encouraging sign for the team moving on to next year.
Despite the losing season, head coach Ginger Miles is pleased with how much the Bears have improved in the final five games of the season.
"We've done a really tremendous job of moving the ball as an offensive unit," Miles said. "All of our players have a greater expectation for what we want on offense. Defensively, I think we really came together as a unit. Katie [Gutierrez] made some nice saves in goal and gave our defense the confidence to make plays out there."
Cal Sand Volleyball (5-6)
The inaugural Sand Volleyball season in Cal history came to an end last week. Given there is still no NCAA championship organized yet for Sand Volleyball, it is hard to gauge the success of this team. To be fair, the players actually did not get much if any practice on sand prior to the start of the season. As coach Rich Feller predicted, the team got better and better as the season goes on with more and more experiences.
On the rivalry front, the Bears did drop their lone matchup against 'Furd. To add a little bit of insult to injury, that 'Furd victory will go down the history books as the first one for their Sand Volleyball program (Cal's first win came against San Jose State).
Expect the team to get a lot better next year with the players having more experience, including an incoming freshmen. It would be interesting to see if the indoor Cal Volleyball team (almost all of the players on the Sand Volleyball team are member of Cal Volleyball) would see some improvement in skills due to playing and training on the sand where all the players are required to have more well rounded skills.
Sand Volleyball does allow a pair of Cal seniors in Adrianne Gehan and Joan Caloiaro to represent Cal Athletics further after the end of the indoor season. Here is their final point for Cal.