No. 9 Cal Hosts No. 4 UCLA, USC in Final Regular-Season Homestand
Oct. 25, 2005
BERKELEY, Calif. -
NO. 9 CAL HOSTS UCLA, USC: Coming off six consecutive shutouts, No. 9 California entertains No. 4. UCLA (14-1-1, 4-0-1) Friday, Oct. 28, at 3:30 p.m. and USC (9-4-2, 3-1-1) Sunday, Oct. 30, at 1 p.m. The Golden Bears (11-2-2, 4-0-1) rank second in the nation in goals-against average at 0.309, and the Bruins are fifth at 0.365. Sunday marks the last regular-season home game for eight Cal seniors - Dania Cabello, Lindsay Clute, Liz Eisenberg, Karissa Goodwin, Tracy Hamm, Jamie Mangiardi, Sierra Schlesigner and Ashley Sulprizio.
CAL TIED FOR 1ST IN PAC-10: Cal and UCLA are tied for first in the Pac-10 at 4-0-1 heading into Friday's game. Arizona is third at 4-1-1, and USC is fourth at 3-1-1. The Bears won their only Pac-10 title in 1998. In 2004, Cal tied for fourth in the Pac-10 with a 4-3-2 mark.
THE POLLS: Cal is ranked as high as No. 9, according to the NSCAA and SoccerTimes after posting its best start since 2000 (13-1-1). Soccer Buzz tabs Cal No. 10, and Soccer America has the Bears slotted at No. 14. Cal was ranked as high as No. 8 by the NSCAA (Sept. 13).
CAL TIES ARIZONA, BEATS ASU: Cal tied then-No. 22 Arizona, 0-0, Oct. 21 in double overtime despite outshooting the Wildcats, 21-7. Forward Dania Cabello, junior forward Katie Ratican and sophomore midfielder Chioma Igwe led Cal with four shots each. Goalkeeper Ashley Sulprizio secured five saves in the game. In a 1-0 win over Arizona State Oct. 23, midfielder Sierra Schlesinger tallied the only goal - her first of the season - in the 48th minute by knocking in Igwe's corner kick which went off the cross bar.
CAL DEFENSE NO. 2 NATIONALLY: Cal ranks No. 2 in the nation for goals-against average (0.309) after allowing only five goals in 1,455 minutes. The Bears are fourth in the country for shutout percentage at 0.73 (11-of-15 games). Ashley Sulprizio ranks fourth nationally in GAA at 0.271 (four goals, 13 games, 1,328 minutes). Sulprizio has recorded nine of Cal's 11 shutouts and has 19 for her career (fourth all-time at Cal). She is chasing Noreen Paris' 1985 school record for GAA in a season (0.45) and Karen Cook's 1996 Cal record for shutouts in a season (11). The 1987 and 1989 Cal teams set the school record for fewest goals allowed (11). The 1988 squad recorded the school records for GAA (0.52) and shutouts (14).
SAME FOURSOME ANCHORS BACKLINE: Cal's starting backline, which has been the same for all 15 games, deserves a lot of credit for the Bears' impressive defense this year. That group features Tracy Hamm, junior Alivia Mazura and sophomores Courtney Hooker and Kristine Relja. Junior Emily Ward and freshman Nkechi Kanu excel as reserves.
SULPRIZIO CLIMBING CAL CAREER CHARTS: In addition to challenging Cal's season records for shutouts and goals-against average, Ashley Sulprizio has her name etched in the Bears' career charts. After transferring to Cal after redshirting the 2001 season at Nebraska, Sulprizio has posted 19 shutouts and a 0.702 career goals-against average. She ranks fourth in school history in shutouts, behind Maite Zabala (26.5, 1997-00), Karen Cook (22, 1993-96) and Olympian Mary Harvey (20, 1983-86). Sulprizio, who hails from Gardnerville, Nev., stands third in Cal history for career goals-against average, behind Noreen Paris (0.46, 1985-88) and Linn Gassaway (0.64, 1987-88).
SCOUTING UCLA, USC: UCLA carries a 14-1-1 record (4-0-1) to Berkeley. The Bruins lead the Pac-10 in goals scored (39) and goals/game (2.44). UCLA boasts three of the conference's top 10 leaders in points, with Daneisha Adams leading the way in a tie for second (28). USC is 9-4-2 (3-1-1) and ranks second in the Pac-10 in goals per game (2.07) and third in goals (31). Amy Rodriguez paces the Trojans with 18 points (6G, 6A). UCLA leads the all-time series with Cal, 7-4, but the Bears defeated the Bruins, 1-0, in double overtime last year on a goal by Stephanie Wieger. USC holds a 6-4 edge over Cal, including a 2-1 overtime win in Los Angeles in 2004.