BERKELEY – The California Golden Bears begin their fall season Saturday, Oct. 12, in San Luis Obispo playing the seven-a-side, Olympic code of the game at the West Coast 7s.
The four-pool, 12-team team tournament at Cal Poly pits the Bears in Pool 2 against Sacramento State at noon followed by Cal vs. UC Davis at 1:20. The tournament will be re-seeded after second matches are completed, with pool winners entered into a championship bracket that continues in 2:40 semifinals and a 4 p.m. championship final. The lower-seeded teams will play for consolation championships.
Cal, the top seed in its pool, won its previous 7s matches against the Hornets and Aggies at the 2012 Stanford 7s. Other pool favorites are Saint Mary’s in Pool 1, where the Gaels are joined by Colorado State and the University of San Diego; Cal Poly in Pool 3, where the Mustangs take on Long Beach State and Oregon State; and San Diego State in Pool 4, where the Aztecs will face UCLA and UC Santa Barbara.
“We will travel a mixed 7s squad to Cal Poly,” said head coach Jack Clark. “About half of the side will be seasoned campaigners and the other half players we want to see play.”
Last year at the West Coast 7s, the Bears entered two sides, Cal I and Cal II, giving 30 student-athletes playing time. Cal’s top side went 3-0 in pool play and ended the day with a 40-7 win over Arizona State for third place after dropping a 17-12 decision to SMC in the semis. In the other pool, Cal II defeated Saint Mary’s II, UC Davis and Long Beach State, and then lost to UCLA in pool play before beating the Bruins, 17-5, for the plate championship.
Tournament rules for this year’s West Coast 7s limit traveling rosters to 15 players who will be tasked to play four matches in back-to-back fashion, providing a stout early-season test for those players selected to compete. Clark added that in Saturday’s start to the fall competition schedule, which will be followed Oct. 26-27 by the Saint Mary’s Sevens, “The plan is to share minutes liberally throughout the first two tournaments and ready a team for the PAC 7s conference championship in November.”