No. 6 Stanford Outguns Cal in MPSF Semifinal

MORAGA, Calif. California ended a topsy-turvy season with its first winning record since 2005 after falling to rival and sixth-ranked Stanford, 20-11, in an MPSF tournament semifinal on Friday afternoon at Saint Mary's College. The Golden Bears, the fourth seed in the tournament, end with a 9-8 record, while top-seeded Stanford improves to 15-2.

The Cardinal will play the winner of this afternoon's Oregon-Denver semifinal for the MPSF championship and the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, May 1.

"We faced a lot of adversity this year," Cal head coach Theresa Sherry said. "I don't know if we could've felt anymore handicapped coming into our season. Entering the school year, we felt like the world was ours, and the obstacles we faced were a lot to overcome. Considering that, the girls did a great job coping with such uncertainty, which was constant in our program. I'm really proud of the girls who stuck around and worked hard every day and tried to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.

"I'm especially proud of our seniors. They were great leaders through all of this. Things that could've ruined their senior year they didn't let affect them. I'm proud of their positivity and the way they mentored and led the younger players on our team."

Junior midfielder Vail Horn and freshman midfielder Hayley Olson tied for top Cal scoring honors, with each producing four points from three goals and one assist.

The game began well for the Bears, with sophomore attacker Alexa Rozelle scoring 45 seconds into the first half and junior midfielder Vail Horn striking at 1:02 to give Cal a 2-0 lead.

But the talented Cardinal reeled off the next 13 goals in the half to claim a 13-2 lead. Rozelle scored her second of the game with 4:27 left till halftime, and the Cardinal took a 13-3 lead into the break.

Stanford scored four of the first five goals in the second half, and the Bears trailed, 17-4. Olson scored Cal's only goal during that stretch at the 35:53 mark.

Olson scored her second at 46:46, freshman midfielder Paige Gasparino notched a goal at 49:07 and sophomore midfielder Ana Cyr converted an eight-meter shot at 51:08, as Cal climbed to within 10 of Stanford at 17-7 and prompted the Cardinal to call timeout.

Stanford scored three of the game's next four goals with Horn netting her second at 54:39 to make the score 20-8 with 2:29 remaining in the second half.

Cal scored the last three goals of the game, as Olson completed her hat trick at 58:26, sophomore midfielder Megan Takacs struck at 58:37 and Horn scored her third at 58:49 to make the final score 20-11.

The Bears outscored Stanford, 8-7, in the second half. Senior goalkeeper Allie Shropshire made four saves in the start, and freshman goalie made two in relief, against the Cardinal, which outshot Cal, 40-19. Cal had a 17-15 advantage in draw controls.

Shropshire and senior midfielder Chapin Jackson ended their Cal careers with the loss.

"We'll be losing their leadership and work ethic," Sherry said. "They led both by example and through their vocal presence. That'll be sorely missed. On the field, Chapin was a factor for us in the midfield and on the defense. Shrop was such an active goalie. It was perfect for her to take a charge near the end of the game. She was the eighth defender for us out there and was amazing."

Conversely, seven Cal freshmen played Friday, with Olson, midfielder Amelia Burke and defender Grace Parente starting.

"The future is bright," Sherry said. "We have a lot of talent in our younger classes. The impact next year's freshmen can make is a little bit unknown. Our returners have to work hard over the summer. We're only losing two girls. We have too much speed, height and quickness on both ends of the field coming back, so we should be able to make some waves next year."


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