No. 11 Cal Faces No. 16 Santa Clara in 1st Round of NCAA Tournament
Nov. 15, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. - CAL FACES SANTA CLARA IN NCAA 1ST ROUND: Riding the momentum of a six-game winning streak, No. 11 California plays No. 16 Santa Clara in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Golden Bears (14-5, 6-3, T3rd Pac-10) face the Broncos (12-5-3, 4-3 WCC, 3rd) for the second time this season Friday, Nov. 16, at 4:30 p.m. at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium in Stanford, Calif. The winner of the Cal-Santa Clara contest advances to face the winner of No. 1-seeded Stanford (14-2-4, 5-1-3 Pac-10, T3rd) vs. Sacramento State (11-3-5, 4-0-3 Big Sky, 1st) on Sunday, Nov. 18, at 1 p.m. Stanford and Sacramento State battle each other Friday at 7 p.m.
BEARS' NCAA HISTORY: Cal is making its 15th NCAA Tournament appearance in 2007, its ninth in the last 10 years and fourth in a row. The Bears earned five consecutive playoff spots from 1998-02 but missed the 2003 NCAA Tournament after posting a 7-8-4 record. Cal has three NCAA semifinal appearances to its credit - 1984, '87 and '88. In the Bears' last NCAA appearance in 2006, they advanced to the second round, beating Auburn (3-1) and falling to Florida State (3-1). Cal has been sent to Tallahassee for the postseason for two consecutive years. In 2005, the Bears moved on to the third round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1988, falling to No. 2-seeded Florida State, 2-1, on the road. Cal opened the 2005 NCAAs with wins over Rice (2-0) and UTEP (2-1) in Austin, Texas.
SIX CAL PLAYERS EARN ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS: Senior defender Courtney Hooker led a group of six Cal players by being named first-team All-Pac-10 for the second time in her career. Hooker also has two second-team All-Pac-10 awards to her credit. Senior midfielder Caitlin Hannegan garnered second-team All-Pac-10 - her first conference postseason award. Senior midfielder Caroline Lea, junior forward Valerie Barnes and freshman forward Alex Morgan earned honorable mention All-Pac-10. Morgan also joined defender Megan Jesolva on the All-Freshman team.
CAL IN THE POLLS: Cal, which has been ranked in at least one poll every week this season, is tabbed No. 11 by Soccer America this week, No. 17 by Soccer Times and No. 19 by the NSCAA and Soccer Buzz. No. 11 is the highest the Bears have been ranked this season.
IMPROVED OFFENSE LEADS TO MORE WINS IN 2007: Cal has recorded two more wins this season than the Bears did in 2006, when they finished the season with a 12-5-5 record. This year, Cal has netted 36 goals, compared to 28 in 2006. However, last season, Cal surrendered only 16 goals but has given up 19 already this year. Eleven players have scored for the Bears this season, including eight players who have multiple goals.
BEARS NOTCH AT LEAST 10 SHUTOUTS FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT SEASON: Cal has posted 10 shutouts this season, marking the fourth straight year the Bears have earned double-digit shutouts. In 2005, the Bears tied the school record with 14 shutouts. Senior defenders Courtney Hooker and Kristine Relja have been fixtures on the backline during that stretch. Relja did miss the final 13 games last season with an ACL injury. Sophomore Gina Pellegrini has seen most of the time in goal for Cal this season, recording a 1.03 goals-against average and four shutouts.
Year Shutouts2004 112005 142006 122007 10
BEARS TIE FOR THIRD IN PAC-10: After placing sixth in the Pac-10 last sesaon, Cal tied for third with Stanford in the conference race this year. The Bears earned 18 points on the strength of 6-3-0 record, while the Cardinal had the same point total at 5-1-3. UCLA finished first in the Pac-10 at 9-0, and USC was second at 6-2-1.
BARNES LEADS FOUR DOUBLE-DIGIT CAL SCORERS: Valerie Barnes leads a quartet of double-digit point scorers for Cal with 16. Barnes has accomplished what she has in only 14 games, as she missed five games with a knee injury sustained Sept. 14 at Cal State Fullerton. Alex Morgan is second on the team with 15 points, Caitlin Hannegan is third with 13 and Caroline Lea is fourth with 10 points. All four athletes have set career highs for points in a season. Barnes and Morgan pace Cal with seven goals, and Hannegan and senior forward Stephanie Wieger top the team with three assists each. Barnes has registered five goals in the last four games.
BARNES EARNS SECOND STRAIGHT PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONOR TO LEAD CAL SWEEP OF OSU, OREGON: Valerie Barnes collected her second straight Pac-10 Player of the Week honor after leading Cal to road victories at Oregon State (3-1) and at Oregon (3-0). Barnes tallied the first goal against Oregon State off a penalty kick in the 18th minute, but the Beavers tied the game in the 53rd minute. Barnes answered quickly with a goal in the 54th minute, and Caroline Lea added an insurance goal in the 74th minute. In the win over the Ducks, Caitlin Hannegan tallied goals in the 42nd and 55th minutes, and Barnes capped the scoring with an 85th-minute score.
SALUTING KUSSMANN: Cal wears green warmup tops and blue wristbands with the initials JLK to honor freshman goalkeeper Jorden Kussmann. Kussmann was diagnosed with lymphoma in early October and has been undergoing chemotherapy. Prior to her diagnosis, she played in five games, making two starts. She owns a goals-against average of 0.69, allowing two goals in 261 minutes.
SCOUTING SANTA CLARA: No. 16 Santa Clara enters the game against Cal on a two-game winning streak. Kiki Bosio paces the Broncos with 20 points (7G, 6A). Cal is 15-13-3 all-time against Santa Clara, including a 2-0 road victory over then-No. 1 Santa Clara on Sept. 30, 2007. Alex Morgan (game winner) and Nikki Schrey scored for Cal. Stephanie Wieger posted the game-winning goal in a 1-0 overtime triumph over Santa Clara in 2006 in Berkeley. The Bears have played the Broncos more times than any other opponent in the program's history. The teams have met twice in the NCAA Tournament, with Santa Clara garnering a 2-0 win in Berkeley in 2000 and a 2-1 victory in Santa Clara in 2004.
SCOUTING STANFORD: Stanford, which is ranked as high as No. 2 in the polls, earned one of four No. 1 seeds in this year's tournament. The Cardinal feature five double-figure scoers, led by Kelley O'Hara with 21 points. Christen Press, who has 17 points, was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. Stanford leads the all-time series with Cal, 12-11-3, and won this year's regular-season meeting, 4-2, at Stanford on Oct. 4.
SCOUTING SACRAMENTO STATE: Sacramento State earned its first-ever NCAA Tournament selection by winning the Big Sky Conference Tournament. The Hornets are riding a four-game winning streak and a nine-game unbeaten stretch. Katie McCoy leads her team in points (35) and goals (14). Cal beat Sacramento State, 3-1, in 1995 in the only meeting between the schools.