BERKELEY – Top-ranked California continues play in the increasingly challenging Pac-12 Conference this week when the Golden Bears hit the road to face San Diego State on Thursday and No. 5/6 UCLA p.m. on Sunday. Five of the six Pac-12 teams have winning records, including Cal (7-0-2, 1-0-1 in the Pac-12) and the Bruins, who sport a 6-2-1 record (1-0-0 Pac-12) before their match with Stanford on Thursday. San Diego State (3-5-0, 0-1-0 Pac-12) is the lone conference team an overall record under .500.
The Bears take on the Aztecs at 7 p.m. on Thursday and battle the Bruins at 1 p.m. on Sunday, with the UCLA match airing on the Pac-12 Networks.
Cal is ranked No. 1 in the NSCAA poll, Soccer America poll and TopDrawerSoccer.com polls and No. 2 in the CollegeSoccerNews.com poll. SoccerTimes.com has not released this week’s rankings yet.
Soccer America ranks UCLA No. 5 and the NSCAA ranks the Bruins No. 6.
Cal will appear a total of nine times on the Pac-12 Networks, including five more times after Sunday’s game. After Sunday, the Bears’ following game on conference TV is their match against Stanford on Oct. 20 in Berkeley.
Scouting the Bears
- Cal remains the only NCAA Division I school with undefeated men’s and women’s soccer teams
- Senior defender Steve Birnbaum still leads Cal in goals (6) and points (13)
- Birnbaum also leads the Pac-12 in goals per game (0.67) and is tied with for the conference high in goals (6); he also is tied with UCLA’s Eric Stolz for conference highs in points (13) and points per game (1.44)
- Senior midfielder Alec Sundly paces the Bears and is tied with UCLA’s Stolz for the Pac-12 lead in gamewinning goals (3)
- Junior midfielder Seth Casiple leads the team in assists (4)
- Casiple is tied with four players with the second-most assists in the Pac-12 and is tied for second in the Pac-12 in assists per game (0.44)
- Redshirt junior goalkeeper Justin Taillole has posted an overall goals-against average of 0.53 and overall save percentage of .828; he is ranked second in the Pac-12 in both categories
- Based on the two conference games that Cal has played, Taillole leads the Pac-12 in GAA (0.49) and save percentage (.889)
- Cal has scored 18 goals and allowed just six this season
- The Bears have also recorded 18 assists and allowed just six this year
- Cal’s co-captains are Birnbaum, Sundly and Casiple
- Kevin Grimes is in his 14th season as head coach at Cal; the former SMU All-American (class of 1990) claimed five Pac-10 Coach of the Year awards (2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010) before the conference became the Pac-12 in 2011
Scouting the Aztecs
- SDSU lost to UCLA, 2-1, on Oct. 5 in Los Angeles
- Senior forward Abraham Villion leads the Aztecs in goals (5) and points (11)
- Senior forward Jordan Ongaro, who scored the lone goal vs. the Bruins, ranks second in goals (3) and points (6)
- Senior midfielders Blake Wise and Kody Duff are tied for the team high in assists (2)
- Senior goalie Blake Hylen, who made four saves against UCLA, has compiled a 1.46 GAA and .727 save percentage in eight games
- A veteran team, San Diego State features 10 seniors
- Lev Kirshner is in his 14th season as SDSU’s head coach
Scouting the Bruins
- UCLA is currently on a three-game winning streak
- The Bruins began the season with a 1-1-1 mark, including a season-opening 0-0 tie with Notre Dame in Bloomington, Ind., a 1-0 win at defending NCAA champion Indiana and a 3-0 loss to Cal Poly in L.A.
- Junior midfielder Leo Stolz leads UCLA in goals (5), assists (3), points (13) and gamewinning goals (3)
- Stolz has also converted both of the Bruins’ penalty kicks this season
- Junior keeper Earl Edwards has posted a 1.18 GAA and .676 save percentage after playing every minute in goal
- Former Bruin All-American Jorge Salcedo (UCLA ’02) is in his 10th year as head coach at his alma mater
Cal returns to Goldman Field to face Stanford in the Bay Area Derby on Oct. 20 at 2:30 p.m. This will be the fifth Cal game – and the fourth from home – to appear on the Pac-12 Networks.