Cal Men’s Soccer closes regular season with a 1-0 win over No.4 Stanford
Two weeks ago, I wrote that Cal Men’s Soccer (8-6-3, 4-4-2 in Pac-12) has an outside chance of making the postseason IF they can beat No.1 Washington and No.4 Stanford, both on the road, to boost their RPI. Golden Bears defied the odds and did just that. Unfortunately, Bears managed to lose the other two matches (to the previously winless in the conference San Diego State and Oregon State) and Thursday night was probably the end of the season.
Nonetheless, the Golden Bears closed the season on a high note by beating their rival Stanford in the road “Big Clasico” (probably a better name than the previous Bay Area Derby), via a 1-0 result. Tommy Williamson drew a penalty and converted it, team leading 9th goal, in the 56th minute for the lone goal. Senior Drake Callender earned a clean sheet with 3 saves for his 6th shutout of the year in his final regular season appearance as a Golden Bear.
With the two big road wins over Washington and Stanford, Cal also owns a 3-0 road win at No.16 UC Santa Barbara from earlier in the year. Head Coach Kevin Grimes is hopeful that the NCAA might still take the Golden Bears in the field of 48. He said, “We now have three wins on the road against top 16 teams. We hope the selection committee sees our body of work and decides to take us to the NCAA tournament. There are not many teams in the United States that have the wins that we do. If they’re a committee that looks at big wins, then they’re going to be considering us closely for selection.”
Before the big road win over Stanford (8th in RPI), Cal is 70th according to the computer.
The NCAA men’s soccer selection is on Monday morning at 10 am.
Cal Cross Country to race for a NCAA Championship spot at the West Regional this weekend
Speaking of postseason, both the women’s and men’s Cal Cross Country will be racing for individual or team spot at the NCAA Championship today (Friday) from Washington state.
This is the expected Cal lineups:
Men’s 10k Championship Race: 11:30 a.m.
Women’s 6k Championship Race: 12:30 p.m.
Sophomore Colin FitzGerald has been the top male runner for the Bears. Redshirt sophomore Mina Anglero is the top woman on the team. The women has had more proven depth with the success of Annie Boos and pedigree of Brie Oakley (just made her season debut at the Pac-12 Championship).
Cal Volleyball to celebrate seniors while seeking revenge against the LA schools
No.20 Golden Bears (20-4, 10-4 in Pac-12) are still in the mix to host the 1st and 2nd round of the postseason but need to do work. Bears have 6 seniors who they will be celebrating: outside hitter Maddie Haynes, opposite Bailee Huizinga, libero/defense specialist Emma Smith, outside hitter/middle blocker Savannah Rennie, service/defense specialist Kat Knop, and defense specialist Morgan Wright.
Bears will look to avenge a pair of 4 set losses few weeks ago down in LA when they host UCLA on Friday and USC on Sunday.
Most recently, Bears survived a 5 set challenge at ASU last Sunday to win their 20th match of the season. This is the first time that the Bears has reach that 20 win plateau since the 2011 season.
With 6 matches left in the regular season (including two tough ones at Washington and at Stanford), Bears are in a 4-way tie for 2nd (10-4) in the conference behind Stanford (12-2). Bears are in a tie with the Washington schools and Utah.
Cal Men’s Water Polo also honors its seniors, but will host the MPSF tournament
Looking for some momentum and big confidence boost going into the must win MPSF tournament, No.7 Cal Men’s Water Polo (12-9, 0-2 in MPSF) will host No.1 USC to close out the regular season at 1pm PT on Saturday.
Bears will celebrate their 4 seniors: Safak Simsek, Bernardo Carelli, Jordan Hoover, and Cade Kruse.
Interestingly, USC also started the year as uncharacteristically poorly as the Golden Bears. After Operation Varsity Blue cost the Trojans their long time head coach, USC struggled to open the year, falling to as lowly ranked as 7th before a strong finish put them as the top ranked squad in the country.
After losing the Big Splash by an ugly 15-8 result, Bears did beat No.15 UC Irvine by a 10-7 final last Sunday. Bears were merely edged 13-12 by USC in tournament play earlier this year, so a win on Saturday would not be that shocking.