Cal to Host First 1st Round NCAA Match vs. San Jose St.
Nov. 17, 2003
Berkeley, Calif. -
THIS WEEK:Friday Nov. 21 vs. San Jose StateEdwards Stadium, Berkeley, CA 1:30 p.m.
WHAT'S ON TAP: Winner of three straight and five of its last seven matches, California (10-8-2, 5-4-1 Pac-10) closed with a flourish to claim a third-place tie in the Pac-10 standings and its third straight NCAA postseason berth. The Bears will host an NCAA first-round game for the first time since 1981, squaring off against San Jose State (12-6-2, 5-1-0 MPSF) on Friday, Nov. 21 at 1:30 p.m. This marks the second meeting between Cal and San Jose State this year, as the Bears prevailed, 2-1, on Nov. 9 in Berkeley. If the Bears can duplicate that effort this week, they will head to UC Santa Barbara for a meeting with the No. 11 seeded Gauchos on Wednesday, Nov. 26. Looming on the other side of the bracket is No. 6 seed St. John's, which plays the winner of Rhode Island versus Connecticut. The 48-team tournament will culminate in Columbus, Ohio, for the College Cup Finals, Dec 12-14. The last time Cal hosted a first-round match in 1981, the Bears dropped a 4-0 result to San Diego State
THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM?: The Golden Bears will be making their third consecutive trip to soccer's annual big dance and tenth overall. The streak marks the longest in the program's history. Last year, Cal advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history, before losing, 3-2, to eventually champion UCLA. The Bears beat none other than UC Santa Barbara, 2-1, in their second-round match in Berkeley - the same opponent they will meet if they advance past the Spartans. The Cal-SJSU game marks the third time Cal has hosted an NCAA Tournament game. The Bears are 1-1 thus far at home in the postseason.
CAL IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENTYear Event Site Opponent/Score1960 Midwest Regional at St. Louis, MO Saint Louis 2, California 01977 Far West Regional at Los Angeles, CA UCLA 3, California 01981 Far West Regional Berkeley, CA SDSU 4, California 01983 Far West Regional at Las Vegas, NV UNLV 3, California 1 (OT)1985 Far West Regional at Los Angeles, CA UCLA 3, California 11986 Midwest Regional at St. Louis, MO Saint Louis 2, California 11996 Far West Regional at Fresno, CA Fresno State 2, California 12001 Far West Regional at Stanford, CA Santa Clara 1, California 0 (3 OT)2002 Second Round Berkeley, CA California 2, UC Santa Barbara 1 Sweet 16 at Los Angeles, CA UCLA 3, California 2
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS: San Jose State enters the field of 48 by virtue of an automatic bid from winning the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Championship. The Spartans will be making their 14th appearance in the NCAA Tournament following a 3-2 win over New Mexico last Sunday. The Spartans have won games this year behind the sensational play up front of sophomore's Randy Poggio and Johnny Gonzalez. Poggio leads the team with 14 goals and 32 points, while Gonzalez is second in both categories with nine goals and 21 points. The pair were at it again in the MPSF championship game. Poggio scored the first Spartan goal of the game in the 50th minute and then set up Gonzalez in the 75th minute for what proved to be the game-winner. Unfortunately for the San Jose State, it does not enter this pivotal clash in Berkeley at full strength. In the 82nd minute of Sunday's championship game, two red cards were given to Gonzalez and senior midfielder Frank Sanfillipo for their participation in a melee. Consequently, the two will be ineligable for this week's match.
CAL-SJSU HISTORY: The two teams will meet at the most crucial time in the season to break a deadlock in a series that dates back to 1968. The series is currently even at 15-15-2. San Jose State won eight out of the first nine meetings through 1980. By winning Nov. 9, Cal stretched its current winning streak over the Spartans to three games (2001-03). That ties the longest winning streak for Cal in the history of the series. The Bears accomplished the feat on three other occassions (1983-85, 1988-90, 1992-94).
BEARS ARE GOLDEN AT HOME: Cal scored its first golden goal of the season in a 2-1 OT win over San Jose State on Nov. 9. The Bears most dramatic goal of the year, couldn't have come at a more opportune time. Cal surged to nine wins, with one game to play against Stanford. In the first overtime session, Kyle Navarro slotted a ball through to Yohei Fukuda. Fukuda sped forward into the penalty box, and boomed a shot across goal and in. The game-winner in the 94th minute set off an eruption from the Bears sideline, which had been loud and supportive all game. Kevin Grimes leapt in the air, as much relieved, as he was excited. Navarro played one of his best games of the year. He pushed forward from his defensive spot to provide support along the wings. He was in the thick of many of the Bears chances and notched his second goal of the season to pull the Bears level in the 63rd minute.
BEARS FINISH PAC-10 IN A TIE FOR THIRD: Cal finished third in conference play, with Washington trailing only UCLA and Oregon State. All three of those teams will join the Bears in the NCAA Tournament. Both the No. 1 seeded Bruins and the No. 10 seeded Huskies will host second round games, while Oregon State hosts a first round game for the right to face Washington. In the conference's fourth year of existence for soccer, this is Cal's second consecutive year finishing with an above .500 conference record. Last season, Cal went 6-3-1 on its way to a second place Pac-10 finish.
2003 FINAL PAC-10 MEN'S SOCCER STANDINGS: Conf. OverallUCLA 10-0-0 18-1-0Oregon State 7-3-0 13-6-0Washington 5-4-1 12-4-2California 5-4-1 10-8-2Fresno State 2-8-0 5-13-0Stanford 0-10-0 3-15-2
BEARS' 1-0 WIN OVER STANFORD COMPLETES FIRST EVER SEASON SWEEP: With a trip to the postseason on the line, Cal came up big in its second game against Stanford. After winning the first meeting, 3-1, at home to start the Pac-10 season, the Bears toppled Stanford, 1-0, in Palo Alto. Carl Acosta scored in the 33rd minute and a stout Cal defense held Stanford to four shots. The win completed a first ever season sweep. In fact, Cal holds a 3-0-1 record over the Cardinal the last two years.
DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS: Cal is hoping the old adage proves true yet again during their 2003 NCAA Tournament run. The defense was thought to be the strength of the team this year with experienced veterans Troy Roberts, Noah Merl and Kyle Navarro anchoring the back line. All three are physical, technically sound defenders. Roberts and Merl usually draw the toughest assignments in the center defensive positions and thankfully for Cal, they have been up to the task. The Bears posted six shutouts this year, tied for sixth in the Pac-10, all with sophomore goalkeeper Mike Oseguera in net. Their 1.15 goals against average is third in the conference. While Cal has been difficult to score on, the defense has also been the catalyst for the offense. Many of Cal's scoring opportunities have been generated by defender runs on the wings.
ACOSTA AND MUNOZ LEAD ATTACK: Junior forward Carl Acosta and junior midfielder Mike Munoz have been the centerpieces of Cal's offensive attack. Listed at 5-4, 130 pounds, Acosta routinely goes up against defenders with a tremendous physical advantage over him. Yet, often it is the Bears' striker that gets the better of his opposition. Using a quick first step and powerful shot, Acosta has led the Bears this season with nine goals in 18 games. Cal will need him return to his mid-season form, when he netted seven goals in over a nine match stretch. His career-best nine goals this season lead the team. Munoz has often partnered with Acosta up front and also dropped back into an attacking midfield role. He led the team in shots with 45 and shots on goal with 19. His ten points were good for second on the team. If the Bears look to advance deep into the tournament, these two will need to be major contributors, as they have been all season.
ON A TEAM LED BY JUNIORS, SOPHOMORES AND FRESHMEN BEGIN TO MAKE AN IMPACT: Cal has guaranteed itself a sound future by integrating many of its younger players into the lineup and bringing them in for a spark as substitutes. Sophomore's Tyson Wahl and Nick Hatzke have been a consistent presence in midfield for the Bears. Wahl plays a defensive role, sometimes playing on the back line, while Hatzke is one of the key distributors of the ball to the forwards. Sophomore Pieter Berger and freshman Andrew Jacobson have been used off the bench as big attackers, capable of winning balls up front. Sophomore Garrett Terracciano, and freshman Eric Ebert have added depth and often a spark to the Golden Bear midfield. Steve Purdy has been the most consistent freshman Bears' starter, playing on the back line and in a defensive midfield position. Playing on the outside or in the interior, he is capable of making attacking runs up the field. Cal is led by a core of juniors, but these sophomores and freshmen are beginning to make their presence felt - a good sign that the program is healthy.
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