Nov. 16, 2011
Friday, Nov. 18
4:30 p.m. - Cal (12-6-3, 5-4-2 Pac-12) vs. No. 16 Boston College (12-5-2, 6-4 ACC)
Laird Q. Cagan Stadium - Stanford, Calif.
Series Record with the Eagles: 2-0-0
Last Meeting: W, 5-0 in Amherst, Mass. (Sept. 16, 1990)
BERKELEY - The California women's soccer team will face No. 16 Boston College in the second round of the NCAA Championship on Friday at 4:30 p.m. at Laird Q. Stadium on the campus of Stanford University. The Bears advanced to the second round of the post-season tournament for the second time in the last three years by defeating No. 11 Santa Clara this past Saturday on the road.
After Cal and Santa Clara played to a 1-1 draw during regulation and overtime, the Bears punched their ticket to the second round of the tournament with a 4-3 victory over the Broncos in the penalty-kick shootout.
California enters Friday's match with a 12-6-3 overall record, while Boston College comes into the match 12-5-2 overall. The Bears completed the regular season with a 5-4-2 mark to place sixth in the highly-competitive Pac-12 Conference and the Eagles completed their Atlantic Coast Conference slate with a 6-4 record to place fifth in the league.
The winner of Friday's match will advance to the third round of the NCAA Championship on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium and will face the winner of the second game of Friday's doubleheader between South Carolina (16-6) and host Stanford (20-0-1).
A Look at the Bears in the NCAA Championship
This is Cal's 19th appearance in the NCAA Championship in the program's 30-year history and 13th in the last 14 seasons. The program has earned an NCAA bid all five seasons under head coach Neil McGuire. The Golden Bears own a 13-18-2 all-time record in the post-season tournament.
They have advanced to the semifinal round of the tournament, three times - 1984, 1987 and 1988. Cal has advanced to at least the second round of the tournament five out of the last seven seasons. Last fall, the Bears dropped a 2-1 decision to Duke in a first-round match in Tallahassee, Fla.
Cal One of Seven Road Teams To Capture First-Round Victories In NCAAs
California was one of just seven teams to win its first-round match on the road this past weekend. The Bears were one of two Pac-12 teams to achieve the feat, joining Washington State, who defeated Kentucky on the road. Portland won at Oregon State, Georgia won at Kansas, Ohio State won at Tennessee, Long Beach State won at Pepperdine, and San Diego won at UC Irvine.
A Look Back at Cal's First-Round Victory
In a thrilling NCAA Championship first-round match that remained tied through regulation and two overtime periods, California defeated No. 11 Santa Clara in penalty kicks, 4-3, in front of 961 fans at Buck Shaw Stadium.
After Cal jumped out to the early lead with a goal in the 32nd minute, Santa Clara countered with a score in the 57th minute and the teams remained tied at 1-1 through the regulation and two overtime periods, forcing the match to be decided in penalty kicks.
Cal, which received another solid seven-save performance from goalkeeper Emily Kruger, inserted Kathleen Messinger in goal for the penalty kick shootout. Sophomore Emi Lawson stepped up first for the Bears and calmly knocked in the penalty kick opportunity before Santa Clara countered with a successful attempt by goalkeeper Bianca Henninger. The Bronco's netminder quickly returned to her role in protecting the goal mouth and came up with a huge save on Kate Bennett's penalty kick attempt for the Bears. Meleana Shim then gave Santa Clara the early lead, finding the back of the net on her PK opportunity. Thelma Bjork Einarsdottir was up next for Cal and the freshman buried her attempt into the left corner of the goal. Bridgett Miller's attempt for Santa Clara went wide of the post and teams were even through three tries each. After successful attempts by Lauren Battung for the Bears and Kat McAuliffe for the Broncos, the two teams entered the final round of the five-penalty kick shootout tied at 3-3. Senior Danielle Brunache was up first and the co-captain found the back of the net to put the Bears ahead, 4-3.
Santa Clara's Ellie Rice stood in the way of a California victory. The sophomore was called on to take the Bronco's final penalty kick attempt in the shootout. Her attempt was directed toward the top-right corner of the net, but an alert Messinger was right there to make the diving save and give Cal the win, igniting an on-field celebration from the Bears.
Long before the match was decided in penalty kicks, Cal had jumped out to an early advantage with a goal in the 32nd minute. Sophomore Rachel Mercik got the scoring play started with a lob pass to lead fellow sophomore Genessee Daughetee down the sideline. Daughetee crossed the ball into the box where Battung received it and worked away from a crowd and managed to find an open Lamet, who punched in the score from five yards out.
The Broncos opened the second half in aggressive pursuit of the equalizer and got the tying score just over 10 minutes into the period. Santa Clara's Julie Johnston fired a shot that bounced off the far post but Cali Reis was there to coral the ricocheted ball and knock in the goal from five yards out to tie it up at 1-1 at 56:12.
California out-shot Santa Clara, 17-15, in the match with Kruger and Henninger each recording seven saves.
Cal avenged a 3-0 defeat to the Broncos on the same field earlier in the season.
Cal in the National Rankings
California is ranked No. 26 in the latest TopDrawerSoccer.com national poll and is receiving votes in the Soccer Times poll. The Bears climbed as high as No. 11 in the national rankings (TopDrawerSoccer.com) during the week of Sept. 19-25.
Most Victories Since...
California posted 12 victories in the regular season for the first time since a 13-win regular-season campaign in 2007. Cal reached the double-digit mark in victories for the 23rd time in program history with a 12-6-2 record during the regular season. The 2011 Golden Bears became the fastest to reach the 12-win mark (18 matches) since Cal's 2007 squad captured its 12th win after 17 matches with a 12-5 record.
Cal Offense Produces Most Goals Since 2000
California has scored 42 goals in its 21 matches and is out-scoring its opponent 42-20 overall. The 42 goals scored is the most in a season since 2000. The 2000 squad scored 54 goals in the same amount of matches.
The Bears have scored four or more goals in five matches this season and have produced six or more goals in a game twice in 2011 (7-0 vs. North Dakota State and 6-1 at San Francisco). Cal completed the regular season ranked third in the Pac-12 in points (5.70), goals (2.05), assists (1.60) and shots (305).
Leading Scorer Lost for Season
Senior forward Katie Benz suffered a season-ending injury in the Santa Clara match on Sept. 25. The Sonoma, Calif. native led the Pac-12 Conference and was in the top-five nationally in scoring at the time of her injury. She recorded 10 goals and three assists in the 10 matches she played in this season. Benz played a scoring role in each of the first eight matches on the year with a goal in seven-straight contests prior to her injury. Despite having missed the last 11 matches, the forward remains fourth in the Pac-12 in goals and sixth in the league in overall points.
Battung Providing Offensive Spark
Injured senior Katie Benz' scoring prowess (10 goals in the first 10 games) is certainly missed in the Cal's line-up, however, several Golden Bears have been active offensively in Cal's front-third. Leading the way is junior Lauren Battung, who has scored seven goals for the second-straight season. After opening the 2011 campaign with goals in each of Cal's first two matches, the forward scored in four-consecutive contests against Kent State, Denver, Long Beach State and San Francisco. She produced her seventh goal of the season at Oregon on Oct. 28. The All-Pac-12 honorable mention selection leads Cal in shots (52) and shots on-goal (26). Since becoming a regular starter for the Bears last fall, Battung has recorded 14 goals and seven assists in 39 career matches. She recorded an assist in Cal's goal in the first round of the NCAA Championship last weekend at Santa Clara.
Sophomore Trio Contributes to Offensive Outburst
The sophomore trio of Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick, Mekenna DeBack and Rachel Mercik have also contributed to the Golden Bears' offensive production since Katie Benz's season-ending injury. The group is responsible for seven of Cal's 11 goals since Benz has been out of the line-up. The sophomore trio has recorded 12 goals and 11 assists overall this season. Fitzpatrick owns a team-high seven assists to go along with three scores, while DeBack has registered five goals with a pair of assists and Mercik has produced four goals to go along with two assists in 2011.
Brunache Anchors Defensive Third
Senior Danielle Brunache, the Bears' senior co-captain, has been one of Cal's top defensive stalwarts the entire season. She has started all 21 games in 2011 and has played the entire match in 16 contests. In all, the senior has started every match over the past three seasons, anchoring Cal's defensive line. Brunache has guided a defense that has posted nine shutouts on the season. She contributed to a Bears' defense that held then-No. 2 UCLA scoreless for the first time in the Bruins' first 12 matches of the year. The senior has two goals and two assists in 2011, recording a goal and an assist in Cal's victory over Kent State and assisting on the Bears' first goal against San Diego State. In her final home game at Edwards Stadium, Brunache capped her Senior Day with a goal off a penalty kick to help guide Cal to victory over Utah.
The senior provided the decisive score in the penalty-kick shootout to give Cal the victory over Santa Clara last weekend in the first round of the NCAA Championship.
She has competed in more than 80 career matches with more than 75 career starts as a Golden Bear. The Second-Team All-Pac-12 selection in 2011 is also a two-time member of the All-Pac-12 academic squad.
Kruger Solid Between the Posts
Sophomore goalkeeper Emily Kruger has started all 21 matches for the Bears with a 0.97 goals-against average and six shutouts on the year. The sophomore net minder played all 90 minutes between the posts to record the shutout against Hawaii, Long Beach State, USC and Utah and played all 91 minutes in the shutout at Arizona and all 110 minutes in the shutout performance against No. 2 UCLA. She played the first 45 minutes of Cal's 7-0 victory over North Dakota State, 75 minutes in the Bears' 4-0 rout of Oregon, and all but 42 seconds due to injury in the 1-0 win against Arizona State, but NCAA rules require goalkeepers to play the full match to receive credit for a shutout. Kruger was the first to hold UCLA scoreless through the Bruins' first 12 matches of the season.
The Bears have surrendered just 20 goals this season, the least amount of goals given up after at least 20 games in a season since 2007. That year, Cal allowed 20 goals in 22 games.
Shutting Out the Competition
Cal has posted nine shutouts as a team this season with sophomore goalkeeper Emily Kruger credited with six of them. The Bears have held their opponent scoreless in five of their last eight matches. Cal did not allow a goal from the second half of the Washington State match on Oct. 2 to the second half of the Colorado contest on Oct. 21, a span of 382 minutes and 43 seconds. The nine shutouts is the most since an 11-shutout season in 2007.
Four Bears Earn All-Pac-12 Honors
Four members of the California women's soccer team were honored by the Pac-12 Conference on Nov. 9. Senior defender Danielle Brunache and junior midfielder Betsy Hassett earned Second Team honors, while junior forward Lauren Battung and sophomore midfielder Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick where honorable mention selections.
Bennett Selected to Capital One Academic All-District Squad
Sophomore Kate Bennett was selected to the 2011 Capital One Academic All-District 8 Women's Soccer Second Team on Nov. 9. The team recognizes the nation's top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom. To be eligible, a student-athlete must be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.30 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) at her current institution. District 8 represents all student-athletes from Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington as well as Canada.
Bennett, a sophomore midfielder for the Golden Bears, has played in all 21 matches this season with four assists on the year. The Bellevue, Wash. native assisted on a pair of goals against North Dakota State. She also owns assists against San Diego and San Francisco.
Scouting Boston College
Boston College enters Friday's match with a 12-5-2 overall record. The Eagles are ranked nationally in all four major polls, including 16th by TopDrawerSoccer.com, 18th by Soccer Times, 21st by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and 22nd by Soccer America. BC reached Friday's second-round match after defeating Marist, 6-1, at home this past Sunday.
Junior midfielder Kristen Mewis leads Boston College with 22 points, including eight goals and six assists. Senior goalkeeper Jillian Mastroianni owns a 0.62 goals-against average with a .838 save percentage. She has surrendered just 12 goals in 1,729 minutes between the posts this season.
The Bears and the Eagles had no common opponents during the 2011 regular season.
THE SERIES: Cal-BC
California and Boston College have not faced each other on the pitch in more than two decades with the last meeting coming in 1990. The Golden Bears and Eagles have met twice previously with Cal winning both those matches. The two previous meetings have occurred in the state of Massachusetts with Cal defeating Boston College, 3-2, in Chestnut Hill on Sept. 18, 1986 and the Bears posting a 5-0 victory over the Eagles in Amherst, Mass. On Sept. 16, 1990.
Several Golden Bears are among the Pac-12 Conference leaders in many categories. As a team, Cal ranks third in the Pac-12 in points per game (5.62), goals per game (2.00), assists per game (1.62) and total shots (322). Sophomore Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick is tied for fourth in the conference with seven assists and a 0.35 assists per-game-average on the year. Junior Lauren Battung is tied for ninth in the conference with seven goals and tied for sixth in the league with 52 total shots. Sophomore goalkeeper Emily Kruger's 0.97 goals-against average is fifth-best in the league and her .753 save percentage is sixth-best in the conference. Kruger's six shutouts are the fourth-most in the Pac-12 this season. Despite having missed the last 11 matches, injured senior forward Katie Benz remains fourth in the Pac-12 in goals and sixth in the league in overall points.
McGuire Climbs Victory Chart
With 12 victories this season, head coach Neil McGuire now has 57 career wins in his fifth season with the Golden Bears. McGuire's victory against USC on Oct. 9 moved him past Andy Bonchonsky (1991-96) and into third place on the school's all-time coaching victories list. He owns a 57-35-11 career record at Cal. McGuire enters Friday's match just four wins shy of second-place Bill Merrell, who posted a 61-20-8 record from 1983-85.
Cal Dominant at Edwards
Cal completed its regular-season home schedule with a 6-2-1 record. The Bears have lost just four of 23 matches in Berkeley over the last two seasons.
Winning Streak Ends at Eight
The Golden Bears had their eight-match winning streak come to an end with a 3-0 setback at No. 21 Santa Clara on Sept. 25. The eight consecutive victories was the longest winning streak since 2000 when Cal opened the season with eight-straight wins. The Bears defeated San Diego State (2-1 in OT), North Dakota State (7-0), Hawaii (3-0), Kent State (5-1), Denver (4-2), Long Beach State (2-0), San Francisco (6-1) and Arizona State (1-0) during the streak. The lost to Santa Clara was Cal's first defeat since Aug. 19.