Yes, the Bears were happy to be in the NCAA Tournament. They were not quite as happy that they were put on the road for a first-round matchup at Pepperdine.
"We expected to host and we hoped to host," Cal coach Neil McGuire said. "But we prepared them that either way, it doesn't matter. It's just a soccer field and another team that we have to look in the eye."
With a strong RPI, a No. 23 national ranking and a third-place finish in the top-heavy Pac-12, the Bears felt they were deserving to host a first-round match. The top two teams in the conference are Stanford and UCLA, the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country.
But the Bears will have to make the 384-mile bus trip to Malibu instead for a Saturday matchup at 1 p.m. Since Pepperdine's campus is less than 400 miles away, Cal must take buses rather than fly south.
"We're kind of used to being pushed aside a little bit," Cal senior Lauren Battung said. "It's always going to be a motivational factor. At the same time, we're prepared for any situation."
The Bears (15-5) aren't just going on the road. They have their hands full with a tough opponent. Pepperdine (12-6) is ranked 22nd nationally after finishing in third place in the West Coast Conference.
Battung said while some of the Bears feel slighted they didn't get a home match, they aren't taking their position for granted.
"We always have to be appreciative of the position we are in," she said. "That can never be overlooked. Sometimes that can be lost. We're very thankful to be there and we know we've worked hard. I'm personally very excited. I'm ready for anything that comes to us."