BERKELEY - In the final home game of the 2014 season, the California lacrosse team ended the home portion of its schedule on a high note, defeating Fresno State, 11-7, Tuesday afternoon from Kabam Field at Memorial Stadium. Bella Huther and Amelia Burke each scored three goals for the Golden Bears.
Cal has now won two of its last three and improved its overall record to 4-9 and its record in the MPSF to 2-4. Head coach Ginger Miles stated she's been pleased with how well the Bears have played in the past three games.
"I think our team has come out in the past couple games with a lot more heart and more focus," Miles said. "We've been disappointed with our record up to this point. We know that we haven't been playing at the level we're capable of up until these past couple games. We really wanted to focus on the back half of this season playing the way we know we can."
Fresno State got on the board first, but Cal quickly gained and maintained momentum after that. Gaby Christman and Amelia Burke tallied the first two Cal goals. After the Bulldogs tied the game at two, the Bears scored the next five consecutive goals to take control of the game. Huther and Burke each scored twice during that five-goal stretch.
Huther also garnered her first collegiate assist on a goal scored by Lizz Lavie with less than a second remaining on the clock in the first half. The goal gave Cal an 8-3 lead at the break.
Lavie was the Bears' leader in points on the day, as she totaled five points on three assists and two goals.
Fresno State began to claw back into the game in the second half, scoring four of the first five goals. Besides a goal by Huther at the 19-minute mark, the Bears were held off the scoresheet until Christman scored with seven and a half minutes left in regulation. Lavie was later credited with a goal that was actually an own-goal by Fresno State, which sealed the win for the Bears.
Katie Gutierrez made six saves in the win. Like her team, Gutierrez has won two of her first three collegiate starts.
On the season, Huther now has 41 goals and 42 points, both of which are categories she leads the team in. In addition, Christman now has 40 draws, 33 caused turnovers and 28 ground balls, all team highs.
While Cal celebrated its Senior Day ceremony against USC on April 6, today's game marked the official final home game for the Bears' five seniors - Burke, Paige Gasparino, Marissa O'Meally, Grace Parente and Jacqueline Pelletier.
The regular season is still far from over, though. Next up, the Bears head to Colorado to face MPSF powerhouse Denver on Friday, April 18, and first-year program Colorado on Sunday, April 20, before wrapping up the regular season at Stanford on Thursday, April 24. That game can be seen live on the Pac-12 Networks. Please note the Colorado start time has been changed from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. PT.
"We want to finish the strong," Miles said. "We want to take this win and use it as momentum. We're doing a great job of supporting each other. We're not playing flawless, but we're doing what we need to do to back each other up and make sure the mistakes we make don't end up as goals at the other end. We're maintaining possession and making each other look good."