BERKELEY – The California Golden Bears (14-4-2, 6-3-1 Pac-12) are in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men’s Division I Soccer Tournament, after defeating Coastal Carolina (19-5-0, 9-1-0 Big South) 1-0 on Sunday. Cal now hosts the ACC regular season co-champion and tournament champion Maryland Terrapins (15-3-5, 7-1-3 ACC) at Edwards Stadium at 1:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, Dec. 7. Maryland advanced with victories over Providence (3-1 in the second round) and 12th seed UC Irvine (1-0 in the third round). Maryland holds a 3-2 all-time series advantage, but Cal got the better of the Terrapins earlier this season in a 3-2 overtime win in Berkeley back on Sept. 1.
Cal finished third in the Pac-12, two points behind UCLA and four behind the champions, the Washington Huskies. Two teams from the Pac-12 remain in the final eight of the NCAA Tournament, with second-seeded Washington hosting seventh-seeded New Mexico in Seattle on Saturday night and the Bears hosting Maryland.
This marks only the third time that the Bears have been in the quarterfinal round, and first time they will be hosting during this stage. Should Cal advance to the College Cup, it will be for the first time the team has done so in school history.
Following the Games
Fans can keep track of Cal home games by following live stats and by following the team on Twitter @CalMensSoccer. Each game’s live stats link will appear on the team’s CalBears.com schedule on the day of the game.
Scouting the Bears
• Senior defender Steve Birnbaum tallied his team-leading tenth goal of the season when he scored a spectacular 35th minute goal during Cal’s 3-1 win over Bradley on 11/24 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament
• In the regular season, Birnbaum finished tied for third in the conference with 19 points, ranked second in goals (9), was first in goals-per-game at 0.53 and was second in points-per-game at 1.19
• Goalkeeper Alex Mangels has started in goal in both of the Bears’ tournament games so far, making five saves in each victory, including a shutout win over Coastal Carolina on Sunday
• Senior midfielder Alec Sundly paced the Bears as well as ranked second in the Pac-12 in game winning goals (3) and tallied six goals during the regular season, including his penalty kick against Stanford on Nov. 13
• Sundly has factored in on all four of the Bears’ goals in their two tournament games thus far, scoring three and assisting on the other
• Sundly tallied the gamewinning goal in Cal’s third round victory over the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers on Sunday, when he pounced on a rebound from an Omid Jalali shot in the 65th minute, finishing into the open net
• Sundly scored two goals and added an assist in the second round victory on 11/24 against Bradley
• Junior midfielder Seth Casiple led the team in assists during the regular season with six, and added another on 11/24 in a 3-1 second round win over Bradley, setting up Alec Sundly’s 20th minute goal
• Senior midfielder Ryan Neil and junior defender Christian Dean tied for second most on the team in assists (4)
• Junior forward Omid Jalali also added the assist on the lone goal in Cal’s 1-0 win over Coastal Carolina on Sunday, when his shot created the rebound opportunity for Sundly
• Jalali scored two goals in the win over Oregon State on 11/8 and finished with four during the season
• Redshirt junior goalkeeper Justin Taillole, finished second in the conference in goals-against-average at 0.83 and save percentage at .774 and finished with the third-most shutouts in the Pac-12 with five
• As a team, Cal ranked second in the Pac-12 in GAA (0.97) and goals allowed (18) during the regular season
• 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 and won his 150th career game on 11/1 in a 3-2 win over SDSU
• Against ranked opponents, Grimes has a 41-39-16 all-time record at Cal; his record vs. ranked foes is 4-2-1 in 2013
Scouting the Terrapins
• In its last two games, Maryland defeated 12th seed UC Irvine 1-0 at home on 12/1 and knocked off Providence 3-1 on 11/24
• Maryland has won their last nine games, dating back to 10/22
• Senior forward Patrick Mullins leads the NCAA in points (40), is tied for first in goals (16) and leads the Terps in assists (8) in 23 games played
• Mullins scored the gamewinning goal on Sunday in the 32nd minute against UC Irvine to push the Terrapins into the quarterfinals
• Mullins was named one of 15 semifinalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy, after winning the award last season
• Freshman goalkeeper Zack Steffen has posted a 1.11 goals-against-average and a .707 save percentage in 23 appearances
• Steffen has eight shutouts
• Forwards Schillo Tshuma and Jake Pace are tied for second on the team in goals (6) and points (13)
• Senior midfielder Sunny Jane is second on the team in assists (6)
• Outscored opponents 48-27 in 23 games this season
• Terrapins are 3-1-4 on the road this year
• Maryland has posted an 8-2-2 non-conference record
• Sasho Cirovski is in his 21st season as Maryland’s head coach
Should Cal advance to the College Cup, they would play the winner of the quarterfinal fixture between eighth-seeded Virginia and UConn on Friday, Dec. 13 at PPL Park in Philadelphia, Pa.
Birnbaum Named MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist
The Missouri Athletic Club and the California Golden Bears announced Tuesday that senior defender Steve Birnbaum has been named a semifinalist for the prestigious MAC Hermann Trophy. The MAC Hermann Trophy is the highest individual intercollegiate award presented annually during a January banquet at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis. NCAA Division I coaches that are NSCAA College Services members may vote for their top choices Wednesday, Dec. 4 through Tuesday, Dec. 10 within myNSCAA on NSCAA.com. Soccer fans can also let their collective voice be heard by voting for their favorite player on the MAC’s website hosted by LockerDome, starting Thursday, Dec. 5. The top three vote-getters from the combined NSCAA coaches and weighted fan votes will be announced as finalists Thursday, Dec. 12, followed by the announcement of the winners at the banquet, Friday, Jan. 10, 2014. Birnbaum, an All-Pac-12 first team selection and Pac-12 All-Academic first team selection leads the team in points, with 21 and goals, with ten this year for the Golden Bears in 18 appearances, all of which are starts. The redshirt senior and team co-captain has been a fixture in central defense, anchoring a back line that has helped shut out seven opponents in 2013, including the No. 18 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in the third round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Tournament on Sunday in Berkeley. The Irvine, Calif. native also scored the gamewinning goal in the second round on an incredible strike from distance against Bradley on Nov. 24.
Eight Bears Earn All-Pac-12 Honors
The California Golden Bears (14-4-2, 6-3-1 Pac-12) were represented by eight players on All-Pac-12 teams, the conference announced at the conclusion of the regular season. Defender Steve Birnbaum and Christian Dean earned first team honors, while midfielders Alec Sundly, Seth Casiple, forward Stefano Bonomo and goalkeeper Justin Taillole were named to the second team and midfielders Connor Hallisey and Ryan Neil earned honorable mention nods. Eight players are the most the Bears have placed on All-Conference teams since they had nine in 2008. Cal, Stanford and Washington had the most representatives of any Pac-12 teams with eight apiece.
Casiple and Jalali Named to Capital One All-Academic District 8 First Team by CoSIDA
California (13-4-2, 6-3-1 Pac-12) has certainly been a success on the field thus far this season, but they are also succeeding in the classroom as well. Junior midfielders Seth Casiple and Omid Jalali both were named to the 2013 Capital One All-Academic District 8 First Team, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) at the conclusion of the regular season. The athletes selected to each team are recognized as the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performance in athletics and academics. The Academic All-District teams are divided into eight geographic districts across the United States and Canada. As first team selections, Casiple and Jalali are eligible to be selected for Capital One Academic All-America honors, which take place later this month. Casiple, an anthropology major, boasts a 3.43 grade-point-average and posted two goals and six assists in the regular season. He has appeared in 54 games for the Bears in his career. Jalali, a pre-med business administration major, has a 3.85 grade-point-average. Jalali made 17 regular season appearances and three starts for the Golden Bears and tallied four goals and one assist.
Bears in the Pros
Cal is one of the most prolific producers of professional soccer players among college programs in the nation. Currently there are 15 former Golden Bears playing in the pro ranks, including 11 playing in Major League Soccer: David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Calen Carr (Houston Dynamo), Servando Carrasco (Houston Dynamo), Stefan Frei (Toronto FC), Andrew Jacobson (FC Dallas), Hector Jimenez (Los Angeles Galaxy), Eric Kronberg (Sporting Kansas City), Josh Saunders (Real Salt Lake), A.J. Soares (New England Revolution), Tyson Wahl (Columbus Crew) and Andrew Wiedeman (Toronto FC). Three Bears – Anthony Avalos (SK Vard Haugesund, Norway First Division), Leo Krupnik (Maccabi Netanya, Israeli Premier League) and Jacob Wilson (Vasas SC, Hungary First Division) – play abroad, and Troy Roberts (Rochester Rhinos) plays in the USL Pro League.
Bears in the MLS Cup Final
Of the 11 former Cal Bears in Major League Soccer, six will be available to participate in the MLS Cup Final on Saturday, Dec. 7 at Sporting Park in Kansas City. Former Cal goalkeeper Eric Kronberg’s Sporting Kansas City side knocked off the Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference Championship and they will host another former Bears goalkeeper, Josh Saunders’ Real Salt Lake who advanced to the final by virtue of dispatching the Portland Timbers in the Western Conference Championship.