Feb. 13, 2011
BERKELEY - With an eye towards the postseason, California won a key conference game by beating UC Davis, 15-11, on Sunday afternoon at Witter Rugby Field. Megan Takacs scored four goals to lead the Golden Bears, who improved their record to 1-1 and opened Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play with a 1-0 mark. The Aggies, playing in their season opener, have a 0-1 record (0-1 in the MPSF).
For the first time, the MPSF Tournament champion will earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament this season.
"It's really big, and we talked about it as a team, with only four teams going to the conference tournament," Cal head coach Theresa Sherry said. "We want to make sure that we have left nothing to chance come April. Coming into this game, rebounding from Friday, we wanted to leave nothing to chance as far as draw controls, ground balls, our offense and defense. It was a battle, which we always have with Davis and any conference team. I was just happy for our girls to pull that out and for a lot of our younger girls to get some experience."
The Bears fought back to even their record after suffering a 20-6 setback at the hands of No. 10 Notre Dame in the Feb. 11 season opener.
Cal never trailed in the second game of this season, though Sunday's match with Davis featured five ties. The Bears took a 2-0 lead on goals by junior midfielder Vail Horn, at the 2:07 mark of the first half, and Takacs, a sophomore midfielder, at 8:23.
Davis scored the next two to tie the score at 2-2 at 12:45. It was a short-lived lead as, after Cal won the ensuing draw, sophomore attacker Gina Holslag untied the game with a strike at 13:02. Horn followed with her second goal of the game at 13:49 to give Cal a 4-2 lead.
The Aggies' Elizabeth Datino, who tied Takacs for game-high goalscoring honors, then struck twice to tie the match at 4-4 at 22:29. Horn completed a first-half hat trick and gave Cal a 5-4 lead with a goal at 25:05. The Bears took the lead into halftime.
At the break, Davis held a 6-4 lead in draw controls, but Cal took command of the draws in the second half, in large part due to the play of freshman Amelia Burke, who earned the first start of her career. Burke, a midfielder, collected a game-high six draws, and Cal had an 11-7 advantage in draws in the second half.
Datino earned her hat trick with the first goal of the second half, as her 31:32 goal tied the game at 5-5. The teams proceeded to trade goals as Holslag (33:12) scored her second off a free-position shot to make the score 6-5 Cal, Hannah Mirza scored for Davis to knot the score at 6-6, junior attacker Tara Arolla converted her free-position shot (7-6 Cal at 37:01), the Aggies' Meghan Jordan scored unassisted at 37:16 (7-7) and Melissa Humphrey scored yet another free-position goal for the Bears (8-7 Cal at 39:51).
Cal bucked the trend and tallied the next two goals, as Takacs (40:19) and sophomore Alexa Rozelle (40:55) notched free-position goals to make the score 10-7 in favor of the Bears. Sherry's team scored five straight free-position (or eight-meter) goals in the first 11 minutes of the second half.
After Datino scored her fourth of the game (44:06) to cut the lead to two at 10-8, Takacs scored two of the next three goals (48:00 and 52:00) and Arolla netted another (51:46) to increase the margin to five at 13-8.
Davis' Gina Hoffmire scored the next two, striking on a free-position shot at 53:08 and tallying at 55:03, and then the Aggies' Anna Geissbuhler netted one at 56:11 to pull Davis back to within two of the Bears at 13-11.
But senior midfielder Chapin Jackson nabbed the last two goals of the game - at 57:39 and 59:43 - for the final 15-11 scoreline.
Cal outshot the Aggies, 27-25, and senior goalkeeper Allie Shropshire made 12 saves for the Bears. The two Davis goalies (Kjersten Nordmeyer and Jordan Majka) combined to make just three saves. The Bears finished with a 15-13 edge in draw controls.
"Amelia Burke really stepped up," Sherry said. "The second half we had her on the draws, and that was a big difference in the game, just getting possession and giving ourselves the chance to score. That was huge. Megan Takacs and Tara Arolla again were workhorses. Those three really put us over the top."
Cal continues MPSF action when it hosts Saint Mary's at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 19, at Witter Rugby Field.