No. 11 Cal Earns Bye in NCAA Championship
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  11/06/2006

Nov. 6, 2006

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BERKELEY - Eleventh-ranked California earned its 13th berth, and sixth straight, and its second-straight bye in the NCAA Championship when the 48-team field was announced on Monday afternoon. The Pac-10 champion Golden Bears, an at-large entrant seeded No. 13 in the tournament, will play their first game when they host a second-round game at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at Edwards Stadium against the winner of the San Francisco-New Mexico first-round match.

The Dons-Lobos game will be played at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10, at USF's Negoesco Stadium.

"We are excited to compete in the tournament," said seventh-year Cal head coach Kevin Grimes, whose Bears have a 12-5-1 overall record (7-3-0 Pac-10).

This is Cal's 13th appearance in the NCAA Championship, which is also called the College Cup. Under Grimes, a two-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year (2002 and 2005), Cal has a 4-5-1 record in the postseason. Overall, the Bears have a 4-12-1 record in the tournament.

This season, Cal has a 6-2-0 record at home on Edwards Stadium. But one of those losses was to San Francisco (12-6-1), which beat the Bears, 1-0, on an own goal in the first game of this season on Aug. 25.

The last time Cal played New Mexico (13-3-3) was in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championship last year. The host Lobos beat Cal, 1-0 in overtime, on Dec. 2, 2005, in Albuquerque, N.M.

That quarterfinal appearance was the best postseason finish for the Bears.

Despite winning the Pac-10 title, Cal did not receive an automatic bid to the 2006 postseason, as the Pac-10 does not have one this year. Twenty-two other conferences did qualify their champions automatically, while 26 teams, including the Bears, earned at-large bids to the NCAA Championship.

Including Cal, three Pac-10 teams are in the 2006 postseason field. UCLA (10-5-4, 4th place in the Pac-10) earned a No. 8 seed and a bye. San Diego State (9-5-4, 2nd place in the Pac-10), meanwhile, will play UC Santa Barbara in the first round.

The NCAA College Cup concludes with the semifinals on Dec. 1 and the final on Dec. 3 in St. Louis, Mo.