March 21, 2012
BERKELEY - California closed to within one of Denver at 13-12 late in Wednesday's MPSF matchup, but the Pioneers scored three of the last four goals to defeat the Golden Bears, 16-13, at Witter Rugby Field. Cal's record fell to 3-4 (2-2 in the MPSF), while the Pioneers improved to 4-1 (2-0 MPSF).
Junior attacker Alexa Rozelle scored a game-high tying five points from four goals and one assist for Cal. Denver's Jenn Etzel (5 goals), Meredith Harris (3 goals, 2 assists) and Kara Secora (2, 3) each tied Rozelle by scoring five points each.
In a tight first half, junior attacker Melissa Humphrey gave Cal a 7-6 lead when she scored an eight-meter goal at 23:31. But Etzel (at 28:50) and Harris (29:59) scored the last two goals of the half to give Denver an 8-7 lead at halftime.
After Humphrey made another eight-meter conversion with the first goal of the second half (31:39) to give Cal an 8-7 lead, Denver tallied the game's next five goals to claim a 13-8 lead.
Cal forged back by scoring the next four goals - with Takacs scoring at 45:03, senior midfielder Vail Horn striking at 45:56 Rozelle scoring her third at 47:28 and Takacs notching her fourth at 49:43 - to make the score 13-12.
But Cal took just three more shots in the game - including the one that score Rozelle's last goal at 57:25 to make the score 15-13 - while Denver scored three more times to clinch the 16-13 conference win.
Sophomore goalkeeper Megan McGinnis made six saves for the Bears, while Ashley Harman made eight for Denver.
Cal dominated the draw controls category, 21-9, with Takacs corralling a game-high eight and sophomore midfielder Amelia Burke grabbing six, and the Bears converted four of five eight-meter or free-position shots to Denver's one of six. But Denver held a 24-11 advantage in ground balls, and Cal recorded more turnovers (14-9) than the Pioneers.
"This was obviously a very tough loss for us," Cal head coach Ginger Miles said. "We came into this game thinking we were fairly evenly matched with Denver. Down the stretch Denver made big plays and we didn't answer back or respond the way we needed to. We let Denver pull away in the second half and found ourselves in a deficit we couldn't claw back from. It's something we're going to continue to work on and hopefully we'll be finishing these games out soon."
Cal returns to action in a noon nonconference match against Hofstra on Sunday, March 25, at Witter Rugby Field. Denver next plays at 12:30 p.m. against Hofstra in a neutral-site game at Witter.