No. 13 Cal Plays No. 19 Denver Friday in NCAA First Round
Nov. 11, 2002
CAL FACES DENVER IN NCAA FIRST ROUND GAME:
No. 13 California (11-7-1, 4-5 Pac-10) plays No. 19 Denver (17-1-2, 8-0 Sun Belt) (Soccer Times poll) in the opening round of the NCAA College Cup Friday, Nov. 15, at 4:30 p.m. at Stanford's Maloney Field. Following the Cal game, No. 1 Stanford (18-1, 9-0 Pac-10) entertains Cal Poly (14-6, 8-1 Big West) at 7 p.m. The winners of each contest meet Sunday at the same site at 1 p.m.
BEARS EARN FIFTH CONSECUTIVE NCAA BID:
Cal has earned a school record five straight NCAA Tournament selections. Overall, the Bears have advanced to the postseason 11 times, including Final Four appearances in 1984, 1987 and 1988. In 2001, Cal lost, 3-2, to Saint Mary's in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament at Stanford. Midfielder Brittany Kirk tallied both of the Bears' goals against the Gaels. While the Bears have been a regular NCAA participant, they look to record their first NCAA victory since 1988 - a 2-1 OT decision vs. Colorado College in the quarterfinals.
BEARS LOOK TO TAKE HOME FIELD MAGIC ON THE ROAD:
Cal is happy to be in the NCAA Tournament, but it doesn't relish being away from its home, Edward Stadium. This season, the Bears are 9-2 at home and 2-5-1 on the road, including a five-game losing streak.
BEARS RANK BETWEEN 13-25 IN THE FINAL REGULAR SEASON POLLS:
Cal finished the regular season ranked in all four of the major soccer polls. Soccer Times ranked the Bears the highest at No. 13, Soccer America was next at No. 18, followed by the NSCAA at No. 21 and Soccer Buzz at No. 25.
SCHOTT TIES CAL CAREER GOALS RECORD, NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Despite missing six games this season due to an MCL injury and a red card suspension, senior forward Laura Schott tied the Cal career record for goals of 55 with her three scores and one assist in the Bears' 4-1 triumph over Arizona last Friday. For Schott's efforts, she was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week. The record was originally set by Joy (Biefeld) Fawcett from 1986-89. In the last seven games, Schott has posted all 16 of her points (6G, 4A) this season, placing her seven points from tying Fawcett's school points record of 133. The assist against the Wildcats was Schott's 16th of her career, the sixth-best total in school history. Schott, a two-time All-American, tied Fawcett's season goal record of 23 during her 2000 sophomore season, which saw her post 47 points. Schott has led Cal in points and goals the last three seasons and the Pac-10 in both categories the last two years.
KIRK SCORES IN CLUTCH FOR CAL AGAIN VS. ASU:
Kirk, a senior, has shown a nack for scoring clutch goals for Cal during her four years in Berkeley. With 14 seconds left and the game tied at 1-1 against No. 23 Arizona State last Sunday, she scored on a 22-yard blast to propel Cal to a critical 2-1 victory. With a loss, Cal's playoff hopes would have been in question. This was the Claremont, Calif., native's fourth goal of the season (10 total points) and first game-winning goal of the season and sixth of her her career. Two noteworthy game-winners came in 2000 in a 2-1 overtime victory against Missouri and a 2-1 double overtime win vs. No. 12 USC. The playmaker ranks third all-time at Cal with 19 assists, four behind Fawcett (23).
KIRK NAMED FIRST TEAM ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT:
Kirk has excelled on and off the field at Cal. Last week, she was named to the Verizon first team Academic All-District VIII team for women's soccer. She will now be placed on the national ballot for possible Academic All-America recognition. As a junior in 2001, Kirk earned third team Academic All-District honors and her second first team Academic All-Pac-10 honor.
POST, SULPRIZIO FORM SOLID GOALKEEPING DUO:
Cal entered 2002 with three goalkeepers with a combined two games of experience as a Golden Bears. Transfers Sani Post and Ashley Sulprizio emerged as a solid duo. Senior Lee Ann Morton saw action in one game in goal and may have seen more if she hadn't sustained a hand injury. Post, a redshirt junior who began her career at Notre Dame, is 8-4 in her 12 starts and boasts a 1.01 goals-against average in 1065 minutes in goal. Posts' wins include over No. 3 Santa Clara, No. 3 Texas A&M and No. 7 Wake Forest. Sulprizio, a redshirt freshman who played at Nebraska last year, is 3-3-1 with a 1.38 goals-against average in 650 minutes in net.
HAMM, CABELLO FORM FABULOUS FROSH COMBO:
Freshmen forwards Tracy Hamm (Moraga, Calif.) and Dania Cabello (Piedmont, Calif.) have proven that the future is bright for Cal's attack. Hamm leads the team in points (18) and goals (9), while Cabello is tied for second on the team with Schott with 16 points and leads the club with six assists. Hamm also has a team-high three game-winning scores. Senior midfielders Carly Fuller and Kirk also have double-figure points with 12 and 10, respectively.
BEARS WIN 11 OR MORE FOR LAST SEVEN YEARS:
Cal has become one of the most consistent teams in the country over the last seven years, winning 11 or more games each of those seasons. In 2000, Cal garnered a school record 17 wins.
CAL VS. THE 2002 NCAA FIELD:
Cal is 6-6 this season against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. The Bears own victories over defending national champion Santa Clara, Texas A&M, Wake Forest, Purdue, Ohio State and Arizona State and have lost to Stanford, UCLA, Washington State, USC, Texas and Hartford.
SCOUTING THE WEEKEND OPPONENTS
A LOOK AT DENVER:
Denver enters the NCAA Tournament with a 17-1-2 overall record after winning the Sun Belt Conference with an 8-0 mark. Its only loss all season was to Portland (2-0) on Sept. 15. Meanwhile, Denver has posted 14 shutouts of its own, including the last nine contests. The Pioneers are ranked as high as No. 13 in the country by Soccer Buzz and as low as No. 20 in the coaches' poll. Denver has scored 55 goals in 2002, while giving up only nine. Senior forward Katie Antongiovanni leads the team with 32 points (14G, 4A). This is the first meeting between Cal and Denver.
A LOOK AT STANFORD:
Stanford is ranked No. 1 in all four of the major polls with an 18-0 record and earned an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament by winning the Pac-10 with a 9-0 mark. The Cardinal has tallied 49 goals this year, while surrendering only four, including only one goal in conference play to Cal in a 2-1 victory on Nov. 2 in Berkeley. Laura Schott gave the Bears a 1-0 lead with a goal in the second minute. Junior forward/midfielder Marcie Ward and senior forward/midfielder Marcia Wallis paced Stanford with 29 and 26 points, respectively. The Cal-Stanford series is tied at 9-9-2.
A LOOK AT CAL POLY:
Cal Poly earned the Big West's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with an 8-1 conference mark and 14-6 overall record. Senior forward Megan Schlegel paces the team with 24 points (9G, 6A). Greta Shirdon has been solid in goal with a 0.76 goals-against average, playing in all but 22 minutes this year. Cal leads the all-time series with Cal Poly, 3-1, including a 2-1 win in the last meeting in 1997 in San Luis Obispo, Calif.