Sept. 21, 1998
THIS WEEK: Thurs., Sept. 24 at No. 6 San Jose State Spartan Stadium 7:30 p.m.
LAST WEEK: Sun., Sept. 20 Air Force Witter Field W 3-2
BEARS FACE CROSS TOWN RIVAL SAN JOSE STATE: Cal (2-3) travels 50 miles south to face sixth-ranked (NSCAA) San Jose State (7-0) Thursday at 7:30 p.m. for its lone game of the week. The Spartans clash kicks off a five-game road stand that also includes nationally-ranked Stanford, Creighton and defending-national champion UCLA.
BEARS WIN SECOND STRAIGHT HOME OPENER: Cal had to battle back from a 1-0 halftime deficit to defeat Air Force, 3-2, Sunday at Witter Field. In '97, Cal also won their home opener 3-0 over UC Davis.
A penalty kick by sophomore midfielder Ramiro Arrendondo in the 50th minute evened the score at one. Cal never trailed after that but had to continue putting goals on the scoreboard as after junior midfielder J.V. Ganal put Cal ahead 2-1 in the 63rd minute, the Falcons struck back in the 75th minute.
After missing all of the '97 campaign with an injury, junior striker Ryan Fitzpatrick secured the win for the Bears with a goal in the 81st minute off sophomore striker Kendall Simmonds second assist of the game. The game was extremely physical as it included a combined 38 fouls, seven yellow cards and one red card, including two yellows on the Falcon bench.
ABOUT SAN JOSE STATE: At 7-0, San Jose State may very well be the biggest surprise of the 1998 season. The Spartans entered the year unranked and since knocking off Stanford 2-1 during the second week of the year, their stock has risen as high as their current No. 6 ranking. Most recently, San Jose State defeated Sacramento State, 5-2, Sept 17, and Saint Mary's, 1-0, in overtime Sept. 20. The Spartans are led by Chad Harper, who has 13 points on six goals and one assists and Jorge Martinez with 10 points on three goals and four assists.
Last season, Cal defeated San Jose State, 1-0, in Berkeley.
MOVE OVER SIMMONDS YOU HAVE COMPANY: Simmonds continued his hot play against Air Force Sunday as he contributed two assists, including the game-winner, to give him a team-leading eight points. Simmonds also tallied the game-winning goal in the Bears other win against Butler the first game of '98. Simmonds along with junior striker John MacDonald finally have some company in the scoring column as Arrendondo, Ganal and Fitzpatrick became the only other Bears with goals this weekend.
FORMULA FOR SUCCESS: Before the season began, Cal head coach Mark Mallon noted that the key to the Bears success would be scoring at least two goals a game and giving up no more than one. With a veteran defense and several young talented attackers, Mallon's goals seemed realistic. So far, the Bears post 1.4 GPG while giving up 2.2. The Bears play has been somewhat enigmatic but explainable based on their loaded schedule. The only game Cal lost where it scored at least two goals was a 4-2 decision to UAB.
HEAD COACH: Mark Mallon returns for his sixth season as head coach of the Bears with a school and career record of 44-48-8, including a 25-16-3 mark since 1996. Mallon is joined by first-year assistants Manoj Khettry, Peter Woodring and Drew Leonard.
MALLON ON THE AIR FORCE WIN: "I thought we played pretty well. Playing for the first time this season on our home field was nice. I thought the guys really stepped up. "One of the things we focued on this week was improving our play in physical matches because it seems everyone is playing more physical this year. I believe we held our own today."