Seventh-Seeded Cal to Face No. 2 Seed New Mexico in Elite Eight
Nov. 29, 2005
BERKELEY - WHAT'S AHEAD: The seventh-seeded California men's soccer team will face No. 2 seed New Mexico in the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight Friday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. MT (6 p.m. PT) at the UNM Soccer Complex in Albuquerque, N.M.
NCAA SWEET 16: The Bears defeated Wake Forest, 3-2, in double overtime in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament last Saturday in front of a record crowd of 4,207 at Edwards Stadium. Cal trailed 2-1 with 22 seconds remaining in regulation, but the Pac-10 Player of the Year, Calen Carr, tied the game when he scored his second goal of the afternoon. Carr scored off an assist from sophomore midfielder Luke Sassano, who recorded his eighth assist for the season. Carr's first goal came in the 48th minute off an assist from junior midfielder Andrew Jacobson, to even the score at 1-1. After the first scoreless overtime period and through most of second, it looked as though the game was headed to penalty kicks for the second straight game, until sophomore defender Jeff Serafini scored the game-winning goal with 1:30 left on the clock to give Cal the 3-2 victory over the Demon Deacons. Serafini, who recorded just his second career goal was assisted by Jacobson. With the win, Cal advances to the Elite Eight for the first time in school history and improves to 14-3-3 overall.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT: The University of New Mexico (16-1-3) is making its fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last five seasons. The Lobos defeated Cal State Northridge in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament last Saturday night, 1-0. Senior Hermann Trophy candidate Jeff Rowland scored the game-winner just 34 seconds into overtime to give UNM its first trip to the Elite Eight in school history. The Lobos earned a first-round bye and then went on to tie Milwaukee-Wisconsin, 2-2, in double overtime before going to penalty kicks. UNM outlasted Milwaukee-Wisconsin, 5-3, in PKs in the second round of the tournament. Rowland currenlty leads the team with 15 goals for the season, five of which have been game-winners. The Lobos, who are the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation champions (6-1-2) for the second-consecutive year, are 7-1-1 at home this season. This will be only the second meeting between these two teams. In their last meeting on Oct. 20, 1991, New Mexico defeated Cal, 1-0.
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, in the second round. In head coach Kevin Grimes' second year (2001), 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 UC Santa Barbara, 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.
NCAA SECOND ROUND: Cal (13-3-3) tied Santa Clara, 0-0, but advanced on penalty kicks, 5-4, Nov. 22 at Edwards Stadium in front of a crowd of 1,784. The game saw plenty of exciting scoring opportunities, including ricochets off the goal post and close calls that were saved by the keepers. The Broncos recorded 23 shots, nine of which were on goal, and Cal attempted 13. In the end, the game was decided by penalty kicks. Cal was 5-for-5 on its efforts, while Santa Clara scored on its first four attempts. A fifth try by the Broncos sailed wide left, clinching the victory for the Bears and securing their spot in the round of 16. Scoring on the penalty attempts were: Tyson Wahl, Andrew Felder, Steve Purdy, Pieter Berger and Mike Oseguera.
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 (104), goals (38), goals per game (1.90), and shots (283). Cal has allowed its opponents only 12 goals this season, and is second in the conference in that category. The Bears are second in the nation in shots on goal save percentage (0.871), and seventh in goals against average (0.61).
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 finished the regular season ranked as high as No. 9 in the Soccer Times poll, while the NSCAA poll had the Bears at No. 10. Soccer America tabbed the Bears 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.
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, who recorded the game-tying goal against Wake Forest in the Sweet 16, is currently leading the Pac-10 in seven different categories, including shots (86), shots per game (4.30), points (30), points per game (1.50), goals (13), goals per game (0.65), and game-winning goals (6). Carr is also tied for eighth in the conference with OSU's Robbie Findley in assists (4).
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 (8). Sassano is second among the Pac-10 in assists and tied for second in assists per game (0.40). Sassano recorded only one assist during the 2004 campaign.
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, an 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 12 goals this season, while the Bears have recorded 38.
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 boast an 8-0-2 overall record against non-conference opponents for the 2005 season.
PAC-10 COACH OF 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 68-44-12 overall record. The continued momentum of the men's soccer program has been evident throughout the 2005 regular season campaign. Grimes has lead the Bears to their fifth NCAA Tournament in as many years. Last season, he picked up 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.
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