Seventh-Seeded Cal to Face Santa Clara in NCAA Second Round
Nov. 21, 2005
BERKELEY - WHAT'S AHEAD: The California men's soccer team will host Santa Clara in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 1:30 p.m. at Edwards Stadium. The Bears earned a No. 7 seed, first-round bye and home-field advantage for the tournament.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: Santa Clara (13-6-2) defeated Ohio State, 1-0, Nov. 18 at home, to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Peter Lowry scored for the Broncos in the 47th minute. Santa Clara finished second in the WCC with a 6-4-2 conference record. The Bears lead the all-time series against Santa Clara, 25-11-4. In their last meeting (9/18/05), Cal defeated the No. 7 (at the time) Broncos, 1-0, in the 86th minute.
FIFTH CONSECUTIVE POSTSEASON APPEARANCE: The Bears are playing in their program-record fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament. Last season, Cal defeated Santa Clara, 2-1, in the first round, before falling to SMU, 1-0 (13-4-3) in the second round. In head coach Kevin Grimes' second year, the Bears reached the first-round of the tournament for the first time in four years. The following season, 2002, Cal made an impressive run to the Sweet 16 and finished 14-6-2. In 2003, the Bears reached the second round, before being defeated by UCSB, 2-0.
CAL IN THE POSTSEASON: Cal is making its 12th appearance in the NCAA Tournament this fall. The Bears earned their first berth in 1960, then returned to the postseason in 1977. Cal picked up its first NCAA playoff win when the Bears defeated UC Santa Barbara, 2-1, in 2002.
CAL SECOND IN PAC-10: Cal finished the regular season second in the Pac-10 for the second year in a row, with a 6-3-1 conference record. UCLA clinched the Pac-10 title for the fourth consecutive year, with a 7-1-2 finish. Oregon State finished third at 5-5-0, while San Diego State came in fourth with a 2-3-5 conference record. Washington placed fifth at 3-5-2, while Stanford finished last at 1-7-2.
BEARS AS A TEAM: As a team, the Bears are currenlty first in the conference in points (95), goals (35) and goals per game (1.94). Cal allowed its opponents only 10 goals this season, and is first in the conference in that category. The Bears are second in the nation in shots on goal save percentage (0.868), behind San Diego State (0.894).
CAL DOWNS STANFORD TO FINISH REGULAR SEASON: Cal defeated Stanford, 4-1, in its final regular season game Nov. 13 at Edwards Stadium. Eric Ebert got the Bears off to a strong start in the second minute when he recorded his third goal of the season. Ebert was assisted on the play by sophomore midfielder Andrew Jacobson. Less than 20 minutes later Jacobson scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal, and put the Bears ahead, 2-0. Senior forward Calen Carr passed the ball to Jacobson, who landed the wide-open shot from 20 yards out. In the 40th minute, junior defender Justin Delacruz passed the ball to freshman midfielder Pat Marion, who headed the ball into the net to give the Bears a 3-0 lead heading into halftime. In the 59th minute, Carr recorded his 11th goal of the 2005 regular season. Carr was assisted by Luke Sassano, who recorded his seventh assist this year. With a comfortable 4-0 lead, head coach Kevin Grimes subbed in most of the freshmen as well as junior keeper Mike Oseguera. Stanford's Tunji Munabi scored for the Cardinal in the 80th minute.
LOOKING AT THE POLLS: Cal is ranked as high as No. 9 in the Soccer Times poll, while the NSCAA poll has the Bears at No. 10. Soccer America has the Bears tabbed at No. 11.
CAL IN THE RANKINGS: Cal has been ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation for 12 consecutive weeks. Cal entered the pre-season at No. 18 according to Soccer Times and reached as high as No. 3 (according to Soccer America and the NSCAA polls) during week five. The Bears head into the postseason at No. 9 according to Soccer Times.
KRONBERG SOLID FOR BEARS: Senior goalkeeper Eric Kronberg recorded seven shutouts during the regular season, while making 62 saves. Kronberg is currently tied for third in the Pac-10 in shutouts and fourth in saves. Kronberg ranks third in the nation with a shots on goal save percentage of 0.873 and sixth in goals against average, allowing only nine goals for the 2005 regular season.
SASSANO LEADS IN ASSISTS: Sophomore midfielder Luke Sassano is currently leading the team in assists (7). Sassano is fourth among the Pac-10 in assists and assists per game (0.39). Sassano recorded only one assist during the 2004 campaign.
2005 PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Senior forward Calen Carr was named the 2005 Pac-10 Player of the Year on Nov. 18. Carr is currently leading the Pac-10 in seven different categories, including shots (70), shots per game (3.89), points (26), points per game (1.44), goals (11), goals per game (0.61), and game-winning goals (6). Carr is also tied for eighth in the conference with OSU's Robbie Findley in assists (4).
EIGHT BEARS NAMED TO ALL-PAC-10 TEAM: Eight Cal players earned All-Pac-10 honors for 2005. Seniors Carr, Wahl and sophomore Andrew Jacobson were named to the All-Pac-10 first team, while senior Eric Kronberg and junior Steve Purdy were named to the All-Pac-10 second team. Earning All-Pac-10 honorable mention were senior Berger, junior Eric Ebert, and sophomore Luke Sassano. Carr and Wahl are three-time All-Pac-10 honorees, while Kronberg and Purdy are two-time honorees.
PAC-10 ALL-ACADEMIC HONORS: Five Cal players earned Pac-10 All-Acdemic honors for the 2005 season. Berger, Carr, Wahl and Andrew Felder were named to the Pac-10 All-Academic first-team, while Matt Holtrust was named to the All-Academic second team. Berger earned his third first-team honor in as many years, while Carr earned his second-consecutive honor.
WAHL AND BERGER EARN HONORS: Seniors Wahl and Berger were named to ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-District VIII men's soccer team Nov. 3. Wahl and Berger were nominated based on their academic achievement and athletic skills. In order to be considered, the athlete must have at least a 3.2 grade point average, be a starter or a significant contributor and be at least in their second year at the institution. Both athletes are now eligible for Academic All-America honors.
BEARS STINGY ON DEFENSE: Cal has allowed its opponents only 10 goals this season, while the Bears have recorded 35.
CAL VS. NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS: Cal defeated all of its non-conference opponents at the beginning of the season and recorded only one tie. The Bears wrapped up the 2005 regular season with a 7-0-1 non-conference record.
BEARS AT HOME: The Bears look forward to their home field advantage for the second round of the NCAA Tournament, as they finished the season 5-1-2 at Edwards Stadium. The Bears won four and tied one, of their last five games to finish out the regular season; three of those games were played on Cal's home field.
PAC-10 COACH OFD THE YEAR: Head coach Kevin Grimes, who was named the 2005 Pac-10 Coach of the Year on Nov. 18, is in his sixth season as the leader of the California men's soccer program and currently boasts a 67-44-11 overall record. The continued momentum of the men's soccer program has been evident throughout the 2005 regular season campaign. Grimes will lead the Bears to their fifth NCAA tournament in as many years. Last season Grimes led the Golden Bears to their fourth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance and along the way achieved his 50th career victory in the Oct. 21, 3-0 win over UC Davis. Fifty wins is an accomplishment achieved by only four Cal coaches.