Cal Hosts Saint Mary's in Season-Opening Exhibition Saturday

Aug. 14, 2008

BERKELEY, Calif. - The California women's soccer team kicks off the 2008 season with an exhibition game against Saint Mary's Saturday, Aug. 16, at 3 p.m. at Edwards Stadium. Admission will be charged -- $8 for adults, $4 for seniors and free for youth high school age and under.

Cal finished the 2007 season with a 15-5-1 record in their first year under head coach Neil McGuire. The Golden Bears tied for third in the Pac-10 with Stanford with a 6-3 mark. Cal advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, marking the program's ninth postseason appearance in the last 10 years and fourth in a row. Cal looks to ride the momentum of a 7-0-1 mark over the final eight games of last season.

Earlier this week, Cal was picked to finish fourth with 57 points in the Pac-10 Coaches' Preseason Poll. Stanford (76) was voted first, followed by UCLA (73) and defending national champion USC (70).

This year's Cal team features 16 returners, including six starters, and 10 newcomers. The Bears benefit from the addition of the nation's fourth-ranked recruiting class (No. 1 on the West Coast), according to Soccer Buzz. Sophomore forward Alex Morgan, who spent the spring and summer playing for the U.S. Under-20 National team, is Cal's top returner for points (18) and goals (8). Senior forward Valerie Barnes is coming off a career year, notching 16 points (7 goals, 2 assists) to join Morgan as honorable mention All-Pac-10 honorees.

Morgan and sophomore defender Megan Jesolva were tabbed to Soccer Buzz's Freshman All-America squad and garnered Pac-10 All-Freshman.

Barnes and senior defender Nkechi Kanu are Cal's captains this season.

Saint Mary's posted a 6-11-2 overall record in 2007 and placed eighth in the West Coast Conference with a 0-7 mark. Last season, the Bears blanked the Gaels, 4-0, in Berkeley, with Morgan netting a hat trick for Cal.

Cal opens the regular season at San Jose State Sunday, Aug. 24, at 1 p.m. The Bears' regular-season home opener is Aug. 29 vs. Cal State Fullerton.

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