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Golden Medals: Pac-12 Cross Country championships today; Cal MWP vs. UCLA tomorrow

Golden Bears are looking to close the fall season strongly

Cal redshirt senior Garrett Corcoran is expected to be the top Cal finisher on the men’s side today.
Cal Cross Country Twitter

For those going to the Cal - UW football game, stop by Spiekers Pool to cheer on Cal Men’s Water Polo in an important match against UCLA!

Pac-12 Cross Country Championships

Pac-12 Network will have live coverage again of the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships today, hosted by Stanford from The Farm. The women’ will run their 6k race at 11 AM PT while the men will run their 8k race at noon PT.

On the women’s side, the Bears will send a young squad of 10 runners that does NOT include senior Bethan Knights nor sophomore Brie Oakley - AKA the top two runners from last year for the Bears and the reason why the Cal women’s squad was ranked in the top 20 in the preseason. Both Knights and Oakley have not made any appearances this fall and the official press release listed both as “out due to injuries”; Knights finished 10th overall last year while Oakley took 12th. They can still qualify for the NCAA championship (November 17th) if they are healthy enough to run the NCAA west regional on November 9th.

Instead, the Cal women’s squad will be headlined by sophomore Annie Boos and freshman Marea Zlatunich. Zlatunich was 57th overall at the Wisconsin Pre-Nationals.

On the men’s side, redshirt senior (AKA grad student) Garrett Corcoran will headline the men’s squad. Corcoran was one of two Bears to make the NCAA as individuals last year. He’s poised to finish his Cal career with another strong conference and NCAA appearances.

The entire Pac-12 Cross Country community are mourning with the Utah Utes with the tragic murder of Lauren McCluskey earlier this week. We here at CGB also send our condolences to her families and friends.

No.4 Cal Men’s Water Polo hosts No.3 UCLA on Saturday

Since only the top 3 teams at the end of the MPSF tournament will make the NCAA tournament (to be hosted by Stanford this year), Saturday’s MPSF match between Cal (15-3) and UCLA (19-1) is a relatively important one, especially after the Golden Bears got edged by the Bruins in the MPSF Invitational 3rd place match 11-12 two weeks ago.

UCLA, the NCAA champs in 3 of the last 4 years, have lost several important players to graduation - kind of similar to Cal, the other squad to win a NCAA championship in the last 4 years.

Golden Bears will be lead by Johnny Hooper, who had 6 goals last weekend in the Bears’ 13-12 win over No.5 UC Santa Barbara; that effort earned him his 2nd Pac-12 Player of the Week honor. Brazilian junior Bernardo Carelli is the Bears’ 3rd starting keeper in 3 years. Bears do have quite a bit of experience from seniors like Vassilis Tzavaras and Odysseas Masmanidis, both also with international experiences playing for Greece.

Pac-12 Networks will have this Saturday battle, starting at noon PT.

After the visit from UCLA, Bears will visit USC next weekend, before ending the home and regular season schedule when they host the Big Splash in two weeks. Wins in these weeks may provide some very important margin if the Bears can’t win the automatic bid at the MPSF tournament.

Cal Volleyball splits matches against the Oregon schools, earning 1st straight set Pac-12 win of the season at Oregon State

Cal Volleyball (11-10, 3-7 in Pac-12) continues their late push for a return to the postseason by splitting their two matches last weekend. Bears predictably lost in straight set to a top 10 Oregon squad before winning in straight set against a winless in Pac-12 Oregon State squad.

The goal is to split the two matches again, but the task is a lot tougher this weekend as the Bears visit the LA schools. Both USC and UCLA are ranked but the Bears did push the Bruins to a 5th set in their earlier encounter in Berkeley and took a set from the Trojans.

Cal redshirt freshman middle blocker Lauren Forte earns the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honor for her great week up in Oregon. For the year, Bears have gotten some great efficient hitting from their middle blockers between Preslie Anderson and now Lauren Forte.

By the way, Pac-12 Networks did a follow up story on Savannah Rennie about her return from her 2nd health issue. It is definitely worth seeking out this inspiring story.

Cal Field Hockey drops another close match to rival Stanford

Also splitting their two matches last weekend was Cal Field Hockey (5-10, 2-3 in America East). Cal finished the season sweep of UC Davis by winning a close 1-0 contest before losing to Stanford for the 2nd time this year by a 2-3 result.

The regular season ends on Sunday when the Bears host Pacific on Senior Day. Pacific edged the Bears 2-1 in Stockton. Bears will honor Melina Moore and Janaye Sakkas for their great Cal careers. Moore is Cal’s 2nd leading scorer with 4 goals behind sophomore star Megan Rodgers (13 goals, 3 assists). Sakkas has 1 goal and 1 assist on the year.

Despite the losing record, it would not be completely shocking if the Bears can manage to win the America East conference tournament, hosted by Stanford. According to a Pac-12 Network broadcast, this might be the last year that Cal, Stanford, UCLA, and Pacific are aligned with the America East conference. The 4 squads were with the MPSF conference before joining the America East. Golden Bears have yet to win a America East tournament in their history - Stanford is probably considered the favorite despite other strongish, ranked teams on the conference’s Eastern division.

More close losses to Cal Women’s and Men’s Soccer

Cal Women’s Soccer (5-10-2, 1-7-1) has now dropped 3 matches in a row after yesterday’s 4-2 loss at Washington State. Bears lost 2-1 to Utah last Sunday. Golden Bears will finish their season with last road match at Washington on Sunday then Senior Day in Berkeley next Friday when they host No.1 Stanford. Just for reference, Colorado, who beat Cal 3-0 last Thursday were completely embarrassed at Stanford last weekend to lose 7-0.

Sophomore Abi Kim (who I was counting on to score 10+ goals this year) scored her 5th goal of the season against Utah. She added a 6th goal to equalize at Washington State before the Cougars scored two unanswered late goals to win that one. Freshman Paige Metayer is the other goal scorer for the Bears.

Cal Men’s Soccer (5-8-2, 1-6-0) concluded their home schedule with an OT 0-1 loss to Oregon State. Drake Callendar was back in goal for the Bears but the Beavers got the Golden Goal quickly in sudden death OT. Bears actually have this weekend off before visiting the SoCal schools (UCLA and San Diego State) next weekend before the road leg of the Bay Area Derby at Stanford that should serve as the season ender.