Cal Travels to Florida for NCAA Tournament

Nov. 13, 2008

Fri., Nov. 14	Cal vs. No. 8 Florida	Gainesville	4 p.m. EST


Bears Earn NCAA Tournament Selection
The California women's soccer team received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament's 64-team field. The Golden Bears (10-8-1 overall, 3-5-1 Pac-10) will take on No. 7 Florida (17-3-1, 11-0 SEC) in the first round of the tournament on Friday at 4 p.m. EST at the Gators' James G. Pressly Stadium. The winner of the Cal-Florida game will face the winner of the Miami (10-8-3, 3-5-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) vs. Central Florida (13-5-3, 7-2-2 Conference USA) first-round match on Sunday, Nov. 16, at 1 p.m. EST in the same venue. Miami and UCF play each other Friday at 6:30 p.m. EST.

Bears' NCAA History
This year's selection is Cal's 16th playoff bid, the 10th in the last 11 years and the fifth straight. Cal advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2007. The Bears defeated Santa Clara, 2-0, in the first round. Cal tied Stanford, 1-1, in the second round, but the Cardinal advanced to the third round by winning the penalty kick shootout, 7-6. In 2005, Cal advanced to the third round of NCAAs for the first time since 1988. The Bears' best NCAA Tournament performances were semifinal appearances in 1984, '87 and '88.

Cal Registers Fifth Consecutive Winning Season
The Bears finished the regular season at a 10-8-1 clip for the program's fifth consecutive winning record and the 22nd in school history. Cal went 3-5-1 in the Pac-10 to finish sixth in the competitive conference. Sophomore forward Alex Morgan leads Cal with nine goals and redshirt sophomore Lisa Kevorkian is second with six scores. Sophomore defender/midfielder Megan Jesolva is tops on the team with eight assists. Junior goalkeeper Gina Pellegrini has spent the majority of time in goal for the Bears and owns a 1.34 goals allowed average.

Cal's Floridian Tournament Experience
While this will be the first-ever meeting between the Bears and the Gators in program history, Cal is no stranger to postseason play in the state of Florida. Cal traveled to Tallahassee for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament in 2006 and for the third round in 2005.

Scouting the Gators
The Gators earned a two seed and bring a 17-3-1 overall record into the tournament. UF finished its conference schedule undefeated at 11-0 but fell, 3-0, to Georgia in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. Florida reached the Round of 16 last season before falling, 1-0, to eventual NCAA champion USC. Senior forward Megan Kerns paces the Gators with 11 goals and eight assists. Sophomore goalkeeper Meghan Berlingo has allowed an average 0.69 goals in 14 games of work for Florida.

Scouting Central Florida
UCF (13-5-3, 7-2-2 Conference USA) is makings its second trip to Gainesville this year after defeating Florida on Aug. 29. The Knights also earned an at-large bid after losing, 2-0, to Memphis in the Conference USA Tournament semifinal held Nov. 7 in Houston. This is UCF's second trip to Gainesville this season as the Knights defeated UF 1-0 on Aug. 29.

Scouting Miami
Miami lost its last two matches, both 1-0, to No. 2 North Carolina in the Hurricane's regular-season finale and the quartefinal of the ACC Tournament in Cary, N.C., last Wednesday. The Hurricanes started the season with a program-best 7-0 record but injuries caused a 0-6-2 strech in the middle of the season. The `Canes' 10 wins were the most for Miami since 2001. This is Miami's (10-8-3, 3-5-2 ACC) second consecutive NCAA appearance and third overall (first in 2001).

First-Round Teams in the National Polls
Soccer Buzz: NR (From RV)
Soccer Times: RV (From RV)
Soccer America: NR (From NR)

Soccer Buzz: No. 8 (From No. 7)
NSCAA: No. 9 (From No. 7)
Soccer Times: No. 9 (From No. 7)
Soccer America: No. 8 (From No. 6)

Central Florida
Soccer Buzz: RV (From No. 22)
Soccer Times: NR (From RV)
Soccer America: NR (From NR)

Miami (Florida)
Soccer Buzz: NR (NR)
Soccer Times: RV (From RV)
Soccer America: NR (From NR)

Cal Freshman Class Performance Supports No. 4 Soccer Buzz Ranking
Cal's freshman class was ranked No. 4 by Soccer Buzz and their performance this seaosn has reflected their praises In 2008, the freshmen have contributed nine goals and seven assists. Midfielder Katrin Omarsdottir, forward Katie Benz and defender Danielle Brunache all have two goals each and forward Camillia Senemar paces the first-years with three assists. Brunache was ranked the highest of all of the Bears' newcomers at No. 23.

Three Golden Bears Participate on National Teams
Megan Jesolva and forward Alex Morgan and Katrin Omarsdottir have spent time with national teams this year. Morgan has been involved with the U.S. Under-20 National Team since April and will travel to Chile for the 2008 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup, which takes places Nov. 19-Dec. 7. Jesolva played with the U-20 team in October for a friendly game against Canada. Omarsdottir has competed with the Icelandic national team.

LaFontaine-Kussmann Returns to the Field
Redshirt freshman Jorden LaFontaine-Kussmann returned to the field this season after being diagnosed with lymphoma last October. She was declared cancer free in the spring and is one of three veteran goalkeepers on this year's team. LaFontaine-Kussmann has five saves in 272 minutes of work and one shutout this season. Cal also features junior Gina Pellegrini and redshirt junior Rosie Aguilera.

Pellegrini Named Italian American Amateur Athlete of the Year
Gina Pellegrini was honored as UNICO's Dr. DM Nigro Italian American Amateur Athlete of the Year on Aug. 7. Pellegrini has registered 44 saves in 16 games between the posts and owns a 1.34 goals allowed average. The Santa Rosa, Calif., native started 18 games for the Golden Bears in 2007 and posted a 0.95 goals-against average in over 1,500 minutes in the net. Pellegrini was named a 2007 honorable mention Pac-10 All-Academic selection. UNICO, which was found in 1922, is an Italian American service organization to engage in charitable works, support higher education and promote awareness of Italian heritage.

Cal Returns Three Pac-10 Honor Recipients
Senior forward Valerie Barnes and Alex Morgan earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors last season. Sophomore defender Megan Jesolva joined Morgan on the Pac-10 All-Freshman team, and both athletes were named Soccer Buzz Freshman All-Americans. Morgan spent the offseason competing for the U.S. Under-20 national team, including at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament, which earned the U.S. a spot in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in November in Chile.

Kevorkian Rebounds After 2007 Injury
After suffering a season-ending knee injury last season, sophomore forward Lisa Kevorkian has recovered tremendously this year. She is currently second on the team with nine goals and has a squad-high three game-winning goals. The Arcadia, Calif., native scored Cal's first goal of the season in the opener against San Jose State and she had the game-winner against Missouri off a shot from eight yards and jump started the offense. In addition to her talents on the field, Kevorkian has diverse interests, including playing the guitar, composing songs, skateboarding and fishing. An avid 'Jeopardy' fan, Kevorkian watches the TV show nightly and hopes to one day become a contestant.

Cal Coaching Staff
Neil McGuire, who posted a 15-5-1 record in his first season at Cal, is in his second season as head coach of the Golden Bears. He was head coach at Texas Tech the previous two seasons. McGuire arrived in Berkeley with a proven track record of vast improvement at his two previous Division I stops. The Scotland native served as head coach at Mississippi State from 2000-03, taking over a program that was just 4-16 the year before his arrival, and within two years, improving the Bulldogs' record by eight-and-a-half games.

McGuire averaged nine wins per season at MSU and established school records for overall wins and conference victories during the 2001 season. He was tabbed as the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year when he guided the Bulldogs to the first-ever women's conference title in Mississippi State athletics, leading his team to a share of the 2001 SEC Western Division championships. McGuire is assisted by Jennifer Thomas (11th season at Cal) and Brian Zwaschka (second season at Cal).

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