BERKELEY - No. 20/18-ranked California begins its 2013 campaign this week, traveling south for a pair of non-conference matches at UC Irvine and Pepperdine. The season begins Friday in Irvine’s Anteater Stadium starting at 7 p.m. After Friday’s match, the Golden Bears will hit the beaches of Malibu for a 1 p.m. match against Pepperdine on Tari Frahm Rokus Field on Monday. Live stats are available on ucirvinesports.com for Friday’s match, and pepperdinesports.com for Monday’s match. Live updates will be available on Twitter via @CalWomensSoccer.
SCOUTING THE ANTEATERS
MATCH 1: UC IRVINE ANTEATERS (0-0-0) Friday, Aug. 23 | 7 p.m. Anteater Stadium | Irvine, Calif. Live Stats: ucirvinesports.com Twitter Updates: @CalWomensSoccer
All-Time Series Record Total: 8-0-1 Home: 3-0-1 Away: 4-0-0 Neutral: 1-0-0 Last Meeting: 8/22/2010, T 2-2 (2OT)
UC Irvine, who finished with a 9-8-4 record last season, returns six starters from 2012, including preseason award winners F/MF Natalia Ledezma, D Haley O’Brien and GK Corey Tobin. Sophomore F Laura McGrail led the squad in 2012 with six goals, while Tobin started 11 games in goal with a 5-2-4 record and 19 saves. The Anteaters also have 11 new players on their roster to share the workload with between eight freshmen and three transfer students. The ‘Eaters went 1-0-1 in preseason exhibition matches earlier this month, including a scoreless draw against No. 12 Texas A&M and a 2-0 win at Fresno State.
SCOUTING THE WAVES
MATCH 2: PEPPERDINE WAVES (0-0-0) Monday, Aug. 26 | 1 p.m. Tari Frahm Rokus Field | Malibu, Calif. Live Stats: pepperdinesports.com Twitter Updates: @CalWomensSoccer
All-Time Series Record Total: 1-1-2 Home: 0-1-1 Away: 0-0-1 Neutral: 1-0-0 Last Meeting: 11/10/2012, W 1-0
Pepperdine’s 2012 season ended with a quick run at the NCAA Tournament after being defeated by Cal in the first round. The Waves went 14-7, carrying some success into the start of 2013 as they received votes in the NSCAA/Continental Tire preseason poll released last week. Junior MF/F Amanda LeCave is the team’s top returner, with 10 goals in 20 games. JR F Lynn Williams ranks a close second with eight goals and three assists, starting every game for the Waves in 2012. Pepperdine features a pair of freshmen in goal in Sydney Socquet and Hannah Seabert, both of whom have not had a chance to gain collegiate goalkeeping experience yet.
LAST TIME OUT - 2012 IN REVIEW The Golden Bears finished 2012 with a 16-6-0 overall record (8-3-0/3rd Pac-12) and their highest overall win total since head coach Neil McGuire took over the program in 2007. Cal reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, beating Pepperdine 1-0 in round one before falling to San Diego State 2-1. Four Bears earned postseason honors, including returners Ifeoma Onumonu (All-Pac-12 First Team, Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, NSCAA All-Region First Team), Emi Lawson (All-Pac-12 Second Team, NSCAA All-Region Second Team) and Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick (All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention, NSCAA All-Region Third Team).
ON THE HORIZON Following this weekend’s play at Irvine and Pepperdine, the Golden Bears return home to Berkeley to open their home slate with the Cal Invitational. Cal will meet Detroit on Friday, Aug. 30 at 4:30 p.m. and San Jose State on Sunday, Sept. 1 at 4:30 p.m. Both matches will be played on Goldman Field at Edwards Stadium.
BACK IN BERKELEY Familiar faces comprise much of the 2013 Cal squad as 19 letterwinners including nine starters return for the season. Senior GK Emily Kruger anchors the Cal backline after starting all three years at Cal in goal. Kruger will be aided by fellow captain, SR D Emi Lawson plus JR D/MF Thelma Einarsdóttir. A crop of talented offensive players, including SR MF Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick, SO F Ifeoma Onumonu and SR F Rachel Mercik will continue to help Cal’s high-powered ball game.
TERRIFIC TEN The 2013 Cal roster grew to 33 with the introduction of 10 new faces to the squad in the offseason. Among the newcomers is SR D Rachelle Comeau, a four-year starter for Cal’s field hockey team who is using her fifth year of eligibility to play soccer alongside her sister, JR F Taylor Comeau. Other new faces include FR F Arielle Ship, a highly touted recruit out of Thousand Oaks, Calif. who was ranked No. 25 on TopDrawerSoccer’s 2013 National Top 100 Girls and the eighth-best forward in the nation. On the defensive side, head coach Neil McGuire added FR D Zoe Clark. The New York City native trained with the U.S. Women’s National Team U17 squad in 2011.
COACHING CHANGES Head coach Neil McGuire announced in July the addition of two new coaches to his staff following the departure of associate head coach Patrick Baker to FAU. Joining McGuire and third-year assistant coach Cori Alexander are assistant coach Chris Lemay and volunteer assistant coach Laura VanWart. Lemay graduated from Eastern Michigan in 2000 and coached at San Diego State and Riverside, while VanWart is a 2001 Cal grad with coaching experience at St. Mary’s and Long Beach State.
PAC-12 THREEPEAT Pac-12 coaches tabbed Cal to repeat 2012 with a third-place finish in the conference behind UCLA and Stanford. UCLA was picked to win the conference. Cal logged an 8-3 conference record last season, dropping games to Arizona, UCLA and Stanford.
NATIONAL RANKINGS The Golden Bears start 2013 ranked No. 20 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire coaches poll, and No. 18 in Soccer America’s preseason Top 25. The Blue and Gold will face three teams ranked in the NSCAA preseason poll during the regular season (No. 16 Santa Clara, No. 5 UCLA on Sunday, Oct. 13 and No. 2 Stanford). Cal will also meet three opponents who received votes in the poll – Pepperdine, Arizona State and USC.
CHANNEL SURFING This season, seven of Cal’s 20 games will be broadcast live on television. Six games will air on the Pac-12 Network: St. Mary’s (9/22), Arizona State (10/4), USC (10/11), UCLA (10/13), Oregon (10/28) and Stanford (11/6). The Nov. 3 game vs. Washington will be televised on ESPNU.
SOCIAL CIRCLES For the latest news on the Golden Bear women’s soccer team and a behind-the-scenes look at practices and games, visit the Bears on social media - on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CalWomensSocer and Twitter @CalWomensSoccer.