April 19, 2013
BERKELEY - Megan McGinnis made 12 saves, and Megan Takacs and Paige Gasparino each scored three times, but No. 11 Denver held on and defeated the California women's lacrosse team, 13-10, Friday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
The Bears' first conference loss of the year snapped a four-game winning streak for Cal, as it fell to 9-5 overall and 6-1 in the MPSF. Denver now claims sole possession of first place in the MPSF with an overall record of 14-1 and 6-0 in conference play.
Despite the loss, head coach Ginger Miles was pleased with how well the Bears hung in there against a highly-ranked team for the majority of the contest.
"We hung in there with a really good team, Miles said. "Hats off to Denver for playing a great game today. We got out-executed down the stretch. They caused a few turnovers late, and that really let them pull away. It's exciting for our team to know that we're right there. We know what we need to work on going into the conference tournament."
The game was tied with 18 and a half minutes remaining in regulation when Denver scored three consecutive goals to take a three-goal lead with just over 13 minutes left. The Bears fought back, trading goals in the final 10 minutes, but some costly turnovers by Cal helped the Pioneers escape Berkeley with the win.
Takacs and Gasparino paced the Bears in goals with three each. Heading into next week's regular-season finale against Stanford, Takacs is just four goals away from becoming Cal's all-time leader in career goals. Amelia Burke and Gaby Christman also scored twice for Cal.
Melissa Humphrey posted the only two assists for Cal on the day. She is now 12 helpers away from first all-time at Cal.
The first half was even with Denver taking a slim 6-5 lead into halftime after scoring the final two goals of the half.
Takacs gave the Bears the lead back early in the second half, scoring the first two goals in the first two minutes.
Once again boasting double-digit saves for Cal was McGinnis. She has now notched double-digit saves in three of the last four games.
One of the key moments in the game was when Cal received two yellow cards, almost immediately, and Denver had a two-man advantage for nearly two minutes. But the Bears defense, which has been strong all season, held firm and did not allow a goal.
"We've been playing great team defense all year long, and that stretch of being down two was just more of an example of that," Miles said. "We did a great job of working together, covering those open cutters and doing a great job of limiting the looks that they got. That's a testament to our defense."
Cal returns to Memorial Stadium next Saturday for the regular-season finale against Stanford at 1 p.m. The game will be Senior Day as the Bears will honor their seniors in a pregame ceremony. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks, so there will be no live video feed on CalBears.com.