Strong Second-Half Carries Cal Past Saint Mary's

MORAGA, Calif. California broke open a close game in the second half to claim a 12-4 win over Saint Mary's in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation on Friday afternoon at Saint Mary's Stadium. The Golden Bears improved their record to 6-9 (2-3 in the MPSF). The Gaels fell to 4-11 (1-6 MPSF). Cal now holds a 17-1 advantage in the all-time series with Saint Mary's.

Cal senior attacker Alyse Kennedy and sophomore attacker Tara Arolla led all scorers with three points apiece; each Bear tallied two goals and one assist. Cal had a 6-4 edge in second-half draw controls.

The Bears led 4-3 at halftime, but a strong defensive effort and some clinical finishing lifted Cal over the home team in the final 30 minutes. Cal forced 18 Saint Mary's second-half turnovers, which almost matched the Bears' turnover total for the game (19). The Gaels wound up with 33 turnovers. Cal also outscored the Gaels, 8-1, and outshot them, 19-5, in the second half.

"I think in the first half we weren't finding the net, though we were getting some shots," Cal head coach Theresa Sherry said. "Then we were turning the ball over too quickly on our attacking end and we were playing a lot of defense. We got tired and weren't getting the draw controls; we were 4-4 on draws in the first half.

"In the second half the changes that we made were being smarter in the attack, taking care of the ball and really finishing our shots. Faking more, shooting off the pass so we could move the goalie. The difference was possible because we started getting an edge in draw controls. We had it on our end for so much of the second half, which helped to keep them off the scoreboard as well."

Freshman midfielder Megan Takacs got the ball rolling in the second half when she converted an eight-meter shot at 33:20. That was the only goal by either team in the first 10 minutes of the half.

Cal struck for six unanswered goals over the next 10 minutes, as five different players junior midfielder Chapin Jackson at 42:19, freshman attacker Alexa Rozelle at 43:05, Arolla at 44:46 and 45:31, Kennedy at 45:00 and sophomore attacker Allie Welsh at 49:33 scored for the Bears.

The Gaels' Katie Nelson, who had scored the game's first goal, scored her second at 52:41. Cal freshman midfielder Clemmy Little, with older sister and former Bear Ghillie Little in the stands, scored on an eight-meter shot at 53:57 for the game's final goal and for her first goal as a Bear.

By halftime Cal had outshot Saint Mary's, 16-12, but Whitney Campitiello made nine saves for the Gaels and junior goalkeeper Allie Shropshire made six for the Bears in a low-scoring period. Sophomore midfielder Vail Horn struck for two unassisted goals, while Kennedy and senior attacker Catie O'Mahoney converted eight-meter shots to produce Cal's four goals.

Shropshire ended up with eight saves, while Campitiello recorded 17 saves on the day.

"Allie Shropshire had a lot of great saves for us in the second half when they did get down there to help us keep that lead," Sherry said. "I was really proud of the people who came in on defense."

Cal plays its last regular-season game on Sunday, April 25, when it hosts MPSF opponent Fresno State at 1:00 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. Depending on UC Davis and Oregon results this weekend, the Bears could clinch the third seed in the upcoming MPSF Tournament by beating the Bulldogs.


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