Sept. 22, 1997
No. 9 Cal Opens Conference Play at Home
BEARS OPEN CONFERENCE PLAY AT HOME: After playing its last three games on the road, Cal (4-1-1) returns to Witter Field to host the Sacramento State Hornets on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. The Bears defeated Sac State, 6-3, in last season's matchup in Sacramento and lead the series, 12-6-3. Steve Rullo recorded a hat trick, while Adam Hunter, Jason Young and Juan Luis Romero had the other goals for Cal in the victory.
WEEK FOUR HIGHLIGHTS: The Bears fell to the No. 21-rated Portland Pilots on Sunday, Sept. 21 at Portland, 4-1, to record their first loss of the season. Senior Adam Hunter prevented what would have been the first time Cal has been shutout since the MPSF title match last year (Nov. 11 versus UCLA) when he knocked in a throw-in from senior Jason Young to give Cal its only score, 61 minutes into the contest. The game marked the first time an opponent has netted a goal off of sophomore goalkeeper Doug Brooks this season. Previously, the only goal that he had allowed was an inadvertent shot by a Cal player in the Saint Mary's game Sept. 2.
BECK SUFFERS BREAK: Junior midfielder John Beck suffered a broken leg in the first half of the Portland game last Sunday. Beck, a starter in five of six games for Cal and one of the team's top players, was kicked in the shin by a Portland player which caused a complete fracture of his tibia. He will be out for the rest of the season. The coaching staff is unsure if Beck will be able to medically redshirt this season, since he has already played in five games. He played his first two years of soccer at Brown, before transferring to Cal for his final two seasons.
BELL, MACDONALD ON A ROLL: Sophomores Justin Bell and John Macdonald were recognized for their play in the Brown-adidas Foot Locker Tournament, which Cal won Sept. 12-14. A forward for the Bears, Bell was named to Soccer America's Team of the Week (Sept. 16) for his two goals in the Brown tournament, including the game-winner in Cal's 1-0 victory over Brown. Macdonald, who is also a forward, earned the Daily Californian Athlete of the Week (Sept. 17). In Cal's 6-0 victory over then-No. 15 Rhode Island, he had one assist and three goals to complete the first hat trick of his college career. Both Bell and Macdonald were also named to the all-tournament team. Currently, Macdonald (4 goals, 1 assist) is the team's leading scorer with nine points, while Bell (4 goals) is in second place with eight.
BEARS IN THE RANKINGS: The Bears opened up the 1997 campaign with a preseason No. 12 ranking by Soccer America. Cal moved up two notches to move into the 10th spot Sept. 1 after its opening win versus UC Davis. Despite a tie with Saint Mary's and a win over San Jose State, the Bears fell to No. 12 Sept. 7. With shutouts against Rhode Island and Brown, Cal moved up to the No. 9 slot in Soccer America's poll and received its first ranking of the year (No. 14) in the National Soccer Coaches Association poll.
ABOUT SAC STATE: The Hornets were 5-11-2 overall in 1996, 0-3-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. They are led by ninth-year head coach Michael Linenberger. Sacramento State enters the match with a 1-7 record this season, its only win coming against Cal State Hayward, 3-1. The Hornets are led by senior midfielder Ygnacio Zarate and sophomore defender Jerrus Roxas.
THE COACHES: Head coach Mark Mallon is in his fifth season at the helm for the Bears with a school and career record of 35-40-8. Last season, Mallon guided Cal to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1986. He is joined for the third year by assistant coach Lyle Yorks, a former All-American at the University of Virginia and goalkeepers coach Raffi Kardzair, who played at the University of San Francisco.
BEAR NOTES: Portland junior Chris Brown tagged the Bears for another hat trick last Sunday...he also scored three goals in the matchup last year to give Portland the 3-0 win...after holding opponents scoreless (except for an "own" goal vs. Saint Mary's) for the first five games, Cal gave up four goals to Portland in its first loss of '97...the team's leading scorer a year ago, Adam Hunter has two goals and one assist to date...Brooks has 10 career shutouts to date, one more and he'll move into a tie for fifth place in individual career shutouts.
THIS WEEK: Sunday, Sept. 28 SACRAMENTO STATE WITTER FIELD 4 p.m. NEXT WEEK: Friday-Sunday, Oct. 3-5 at Stanford Invitational Friday, Oct. 3 vs. Dartmouth 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5 vs. Harvard 11 a.m.