The California women's lacrosse team scored 20 goals for the third time since 2010 and defeated Saint Mary's, 20-14, in the 2014 season opener Thursday night in Moraga. The Golden Bears (1-0, 1-0 MPSF) had nine different goal scorers, including senior Amelia Burke who notched five.
"It's always tough to win conference games, especially on the road," head coach Ginger Miles said. "This was a great first win for us. We had some inconsistencies to start, but once we got our legs under us, we started connecting on the field and getting some goals in the back of the net. I was happy with production with nine different scorers and six different assisters, but it's less about the number of team goals and more about spreading the love around. It’s about the way they worked together on attack, moved ball around and spread the attack well."
A total of 20 goals were scored in the first half between the two teams with Cal taking a 12-8 lead at halftime. The Bears maintained a multi-goal lead for the entire first half, despite the Gaels keeping it close. Cal scored five of the first six goals of the second half to take a commanding lead that it never gave up.
Junior Gaby Christman scored two goals early on to help the Bears gain the early advantage. Miles credited Christman with stepping up and making some big plays when the Bears were a little inconsistent to start the game. Christman ended the night with three goals and seven draws.
Sophomore Lizz Lavie notched all four of her helpers in the first half, as well. The Bears are counting on Lavie to step into the helper role that former standout Melissa Humphrey handled the past couple seasons. Miles was happy with what she saw from Lavie in her first game with the bigger role.
"All four of her assists came at critical times," Miles said. "It really helped us get the lead and spread the margin. We knew she was up to the task of taking over for Melissa. She was a great feeder for us tonight and she will be for many more games in the future."
Freshman Bella Huther made her collegiate debut in a big way, scoring four goals on a team-best seven shots, including converting on both of her free position attempts.
"I guess she's not a secret any longer," Miles said. "She did a great job inside, finishing opportunities."
Defensively, Miles was impressed with freshman Sara Nolte, stating that she came up with some key ground balls down the stretch.
Cal dominated the draws, collecting 25 of the 35 draws. The Bears were also successful on four of their six free position shots.
The Bears will get back to work tomorrow in preparation for the home opener against San Diego State on Friday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. at Kabam Field at Memorial Stadium. The game will be the second of three consecutive MPSF conference games to start the season.
"Tonight was a good starting point, but we've still got some things to work on," Miles said. "We'll get back to work tomorrow, but this was a really great start to our season. We did a lot of things really well, and there were a lot of pretty plays. We need to clean up some of the unforced errors and mental mistakes. It should be a great game on Friday."