No. 6 California Hosts No. 18 Santa Clara in NCAA First Round

Nov. 15, 2004

BERKELEY - No. 6 California (12-3-3, 4-3-1) has earned a program-record fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament bid and will host No. 18 Santa Clara (15-5-0, 8-4-0 WCC) at 1:30 p.m. Friday in Berkeley's Edwards Stadium.

This will be the second time that the Bears and Broncos have faced each other this season. Cal defeated then-No. 3 Santa Clara, 1-0, on Sept. 26. The Bears captured the Stanford Nike Invitational crown with the win, as well as ending the Broncos 15-game home winning streak at Buck Shaw Stadium.

Cal was also a first round host last season, as the Bears defeated San Jose State, 2-0, before falling in the second round at UC Santa Barbara, 2-0. Cal advanced as far as the Sweet 16 in 2002, after falling in the first round in 2001. The Bears are 2-1 all-time at home in the postseason.

Should the Bears win and advance to the second round, they would travel to Dallas to take on tournament seventh-seeded Southern Methodist (15-3-1, 8-0-0 MVC), the alma mater of Cal head coach Kevin Grimes. Grimes was a two-time first team All-American, as well as two-time Herman Award Finalist, while playing for the Mustangs from 1986-89. Grimes went on to serve as an assistant coach at SMU, where he helped the Mustangs to three NCAA Tournament bids.

The Bears opened this season with a record-tying nine-game undefeated streak. Cal, 4-3-1 in Pac-10 play, tied for second place in the conference with Washington. Junior midfielder Nick Hatzke leads the Bears in goals (six), assists (seven) and points (19). Senior defender Noah Merl anchors a solid defensive line which features three four-year starters. The defense has only allowed 17 goals (0.89 GAA) this season.

Tickets for this Friday's action are $8 for adults and $5 for students and children.