No. 19 Cal Visits Saint Mary's in Season Opener, Hosts Missouri

Aug. 22, 2005

BERKELEY, Calif. -

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CAL TRAVELS TO SMC, HOSTS MISSOURI:Coming off a 4-0 exhibition win over Sacramento State, No. 19 California (0-0) opens the 2005 season at Saint Mary's (0-0) Friday, Aug. 26 at 4 p.m. and hosts Missouri (0-0, at Arizona 8/26) Sun., Aug. 28 at noon at Edwards Stadium. The Golden Bears return everyone from last year's team which posted an 11-6-3 overall record and tied for fourth in the Pac-10 with a 4-3-2 mark. Last Friday, Katherine Daiss, Bri Wiles, Sierra Schlesinger and Liz Eisenberg scored against Sacramento State. Daiss and Schlesinger also had assists.

THE POLLS: Cal is ranked as high as No. 19 in the Soccer Buzz preseason poll. The other preseason polls have the Bears tabbed No. 22 (Soccer America) and No. 24 (NSCAA). SoccerTimes' poll will be released tomorrow.

CAL RETURNS EVERYONE FROM '04 NCAA TEAM: Cal has the luxury of returning all 11 starters from last season's NCAA Tournament-qualifying team. The Bears, who lost to Santa Clara, 2-1, in the first round of the 2004 playoffs, have advanced to the NCAA Tournament 12 times, including six of the last seven seasons. This year's team boasts ample leadership with six seniors and four All-Pac-10 honorees. Sophomore defender Courtney Hooker garnered second-team All-Pac-10 accolades, while junior midfielder Nadia Al-Lami, sophomore forward Stephanie Wieger and sophomore midfielder Chioma Igwe received honorable mention.

BEARS LOOK TO CONTINUE OFFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT: Senior forward Liz Eisenberg led Cal in points (21) and goals (9) in 2004 after combining for four points during her first two years. Wieger was second on the team in points (19) and goals (7) and shared the team lead (5) for assists with Igwe. Cal tied for third in the Pac-10 with 37 goals last season.

A LOOK AT THE NEWCOMERS: Cal welcomes one transfer and four freshmen in 2005. Junior forward Julia Schnugg earned second team All-ACC honors after leading Florida State in scoring as a sophomore with 17 points (seven goals, three assists). As a freshman in 2003, the product of Alamo, Calif., helped the Seminoles to the NCAA College Cup Semifinals. The Bears are excited about the addition of freshmen forwards Katherine Daiss (Portola Valley, CA), Valerie Barnes (Martinez, CA) and Torrey Delaplane (Valley Center, CA) and defender Nkechi Kanu (Pleasanton, CA).

GOALKEEPER BATTLE INTENSE: Senior Ashley Sulprizio and junior Anna Key may be one of the best goalkeeping tandems in the country. Both athletes shared time in goal last season and may face a similar situation this year. Sulprizio posted a 0.87 goals-against average in about 1,338 minutes in the net, while Key sported a 0.49 GAA in 547 minutes of action. The team's combined 0.76 GAA was fourth in the Pac-10. Starting defenders Tracy Hamm, Alivia Mazura, Hooker and Kristine Relja are vital to Cal's stingy defense.

TOUGH SCHEDULE IN 2005: Cal faces seven teams which advanced to last year's NCAA Tournament. The list includes four Pac-10 foes - UCLA, Arizona, Washington and Stanford - and three non-conference opponents - Southern Methodist, Santa Clara and Utah. The Bruins lost to Notre Dame in the NCAA title game on penalty kicks. Cal defeated UCLA and Arizona, the 2004 Pac-10 co-champions, last season.

SCOUTING SMC, MISSOURI: Saint Mary's returns eight starters from last year's team which posted an 8-12 record. The Gaels welcome back their leading scorer, Genevieve Hollis (8G, 2A - 18 points). Cal leads the all-time series with SMC after garnering a 1-0 victory (goal by Dania Cabello) in Berkeley in 2004. Missouri welcomes back seven starters from last year's 9-10-1 team, including two second-team All-Big 12 players in Jennifer Nobis and Erica Pusch. Cal is 1-1 all-time against Missouri, losing, 1-0, in Columbia in 2003.

DID YOU KNOW: Schnugg's sister, Stephanie, is a freshman on the Cal water polo team...their father, Peter Schnugg, won the 1973 NCAA Player of the Year award for water polo after leading the Bears to the national title...sophomore Bri Wiles has experience competing in triathlons...Daiss played the trombone in high school.

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