Breiner's Seven Points Help Ducks Swim by Bears

BERKELEY Despite a career-high tying five goals by Tara Arolla, California lost a key conference match against Oregon, 16-14, in its last regular-season game of the year on Friday afternoon at Witter Rugby Field.

Playing in what is likely the last home game of their careers, goalkeeper Allie Shropshire made six saves and midfielder Chapin Jackson collected one goal and one assist for the Golden Bears on Senior Day.

Cal and the Ducks are trying to qualify and claim the highest seed possible for the upcoming Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament, whose champion claims an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Cal's record dropped to 8-6 (2-2 in the MPSF), while the Ducks improved top 5-6 (2-0 in the MPSF).

Arolla tied sophomore midfielder Melissa Humphrey for Cal's top scoring honors, as Humphrey posted three goals and two assists to produce a career-high five points. Oregon senior Alex Breiner scored a game-high seven points (4 goals, 3 assists).

The day began with the Bears honoring the careers of Shropshire, Jackson and senior midfielder Emily Abbood, who is sitting out the season due to injury.

"For all four years, they were some of the most loyal people that I know, and they're extremely hard working," Cal head coach Theresa Sherry said of her seniors.

"And they've always had that ability to lead, through example and through the things they say and the way they command their teammates on the field. Especially this year, they've gone through even more. Obviously our program has gone through a lot of adversity, and they've really led the way staying positive and driving a culture change on this team and really being great examples and great mentors for the underclassmen."

Then Cal broke out to an early 4-2 lead against the Ducks, with sophomore midfielder Megan Takacs' eight-meter shot at 8:32 providing the Bears' fourth goal.

But a 6-0 Oregon run capped by Nikki Puszcz's third goal of the game at 23:37 put the Ducks ahead, 8-4.

Three straight Cal goals cut the margin down to one, as Humphrey's third goal made the score 8-7 at 28:21. Oregon took that lead into halftime.

Both teams scored a goal in the first two minutes Breiner at 31:25 and Takacs at 31:35 of the second half to make the score 9-8, before the Ducks ripped off a 5-0 run, which gave Oregon a 14-8 advantage.

Cal outscored Oregon, 6-2, the rest of the game, with Arolla tallying four times, junior midfielder Vail Horn striking once and Jackson scoring her last goal in Berkeley at 59:05. The Bears took one more shot Oregon backup goalie Salliebeth Finnegan stopped Takacs effort at 59:21 before the Ducks clinched the two-goal victory.

"We had two sections of the game where we had major lapses and couldn't stop the bleeding," Sherry said.

"In the first half, there were six unanswered goals and in the second half we allowed them to score five unanswered goals. That's hard to recover from, yet we only lost by two. It's disappointing that we didn't show up with a little more fervor earlier. We've been struggling with inconsistency throughout the year. We're just hoping we can find some consistency and control what we can in these last two games, and we hope for the best with the MPSF Tournament."

Next, the Bears will look for conference wins at Fresno State on April 10 and at Denver on April 16. The conference tournament is slated for April 29 and May 1 at Saint Mary's in Moraga, Calif.

"It's really, really hard to end my playing days in Berkeley with a loss," Shropshire said. "But we just have to throw everything into these next two games, try to win the MPSF Tournament and keep the season going for me to be happy."

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