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Golden Nuggets: Cal Takes Stock After Defeat to UCLA

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Cal looks to improve in several areas after a tough loss to the Bruins, and gymnast Tori-Ann Williams chases Olympic Dreams.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Women's Soccer

No. 14 California collected six saves and hit the post once in the first half, but the five-game winning streak came to an end Friday night after a late Washington goal saw the Huskies claim a 1-0 lead at the Husky Soccer Field.

Rugby

Inside The Lair: Five-Ring Fever In Full Effect

It will be the second straight year that Cal hosts the conference championship of Olympic-style rugby when the PAC 7s Rugby Championship tournament returns to Witter Rugby Field on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 7-8.

A hugely successful event in 2014 that has added a Pac-12 Networks broadcast of Sunday's championship rounds for this year, the PAC 7s Rugby Championship has further sizzle this autumn coming after the October conclusion of the Rugby World Cup and on the heels of America's qualification last June to compete at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

"It's a special year for rugby in America, and we at Cal are honored to host such an attractive event," Golden Bears head coach Jack Clark said of the PAC 7s. "Some of the best student-athletes in the nation will compete in Strawberry Canyon, playing for their universities in a preview of next year's Olympics."

Women's Tennis

California's Karla Popovic, Lyann Hoang and Stephane Lin won in singles and doubles as the Golden Bears won nine total matches on Friday at the USTA/ITA Northwest Regional Championships at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Stadium.

Men's Golf

Top-seeded senior Florian Lakat was one of six Golden Bears to post a victory in the singles main draw on Friday at the USTA/ITA Northwest Regional Championships.

Women's Gymnastics

Cal gymnast Toni-Ann Williams chases Jamaican Olympic dream

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — In a tiny, out-of-the-way gym hidden among the hills on the outskirts of Cal's campus, Toni-Ann Williams enthusiastically drags a humongous mat to the balance beam area before getting to work. She carries her own vault springboard to run through several repetitions.

Her upgraded floor exercise needs to be just right beginning this weekend at the world gymnastics championships in Scotland, where Jamaica's hopes of making history by qualifying the country's first Olympic gymnast are riding on her every high-flying flip and acrobatic twist. Meanwhile, Williams' college teammates are working on routines they're months away from performing in competition.

"When I first started everyone had told me, 'You're the first gymnast to compete for Jamaica,' and I never realized — you're the first gymnast for an entire country," Williams said. "I never realized how big that was. I never allowed myself to think that highly of myself before, but I do recognize it now. It helps me stay humble and keeps me going through this crazy journey."

Football

3 biggest takeaways from Cal's loss at UCLA: Bears links

PASADENA — After falling 40-24 at UCLA on Thursday night, No. 20 Cal will have no shortage of mistakes to study in video review. Here are my three biggest takeaways from the loss:

1. The offensive line needs major work.

One thing was clear Thursday: It's difficult for an offense to find much traction when its front five is in shambles. In front of a national TV audience, Cal's offensive line toiled through easily its worst performance of the year.

UCLA overwhelmed the Bears at the line of scrimmage, consistently harassing quarterback Jared Goff and recording five sacks. It helped the Bruins' secondary hold three of Cal's top playmakers — Kenny Lawler, Bryce Treggs and Trevor Davis — to a combined 55 yards on eight catches.

Bears offensive linemen also struggled blocking in the run game. With minimal holes available, ball carriers couldn't take the pressure off Goff. Cal only had 35 rushing yards at halftime, when it was already facing a 16-point deficit.

Sophomore Aaron Cochran, who earned his second career start with Brian Farley (ankle) sidelined, was part of the problem. But upperclassmen underperformed as well. With five-regular season games left, coaches might want to consider shaking up their lineup in the trenches.

2. For the Bears to rebound, their defense must return to what it does well.

As mentioned in the game story Thursday, Cal's defense deviated from its strengths. The Bears arrived at the Rose Bowl ranked 1st and 13th nationally, respectively, in forced turnovers and sacks. Against UCLA, they forced just one turnover and tallied one sack. Both of those came with the game out of hand in the second half.

The Bruins were free to expose Cal's defensive weaknesses. Quarterback Josh Rosen breezed through a career night, setting the school record with 34 completions. Bears defensive backs were out of position again and again. In addition to an ineffective pass rush, the front seven looked lost early against UCLA running back Paul Perkins. The junior accounted for 45 of his team's 48 yards on the first Bruins drive.

3. Cal is a bowl team, but not a Pac-12 title contender.

The Bears entered Thursday clinging onto the hope of a Pac-12 North title. But after suffering its second straight defeat, Cal hardly looks the part of a conference contender. Its defense is too dependent on the opponent's mistakes, and its offense lacks balance.

Don't get confused: In year three of the Sonny Dykes regime, the Bears have made notable strides. A Nov. 14 home date with woeful Oregon State should ensure their first bowl appearance since 2011. But the chasm separating Cal and Stanford, the Pac-12 North favorite, was on full display Thursday. The Cardinal had demolished UCLA a week earlier in a performance that was far more dominant than the final result — a 56-35 win — might suggest.