Palms of Victory: Cal Beach Volleyball rallies to beat Stanford

Rugby defeats BYU and Women's Crew looks strong in their season openers

This past weekend, Cal saw the successful season openers for Rugby 15s and Women’s Crew, both perennial championship contenders (IF there is a Rugby championship to play for in 2021).

Before I get to those results, I want to remind Cal fans that the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championship session 1 is this Friday at 10 AM PT. No.5 Cal will battle No.4 Michigan, No.1 Florida, and No.8 Minnesota for the first two spots in Saturday’s championship final on ESPN2. I will be live-tweeting on the WriteForCalLive Twitter account from watching the stream of the meet.

Below are all of the Cal Victories from April 8th to 14th.

Cal Beach Volleyball edges Stanford at the Pac-12 North Invitational tournament

The Pac-12 North Invitational did not go that well for the Cal Bears (10-8, 5-3 in Pac-12) after the Bears lost 0-5 to No.2 USC, 2-3 to ASU, and 1-4 to Arizona. But nothing salvages a weekend better than earning a win over your rival. No.11 Golden Bears were able to get a come-from-behind win over No.7 Stanford on Sunday afternoon from Phoenix, AZ.

Cal 3, Stanford 2

The top 2 pairs the Cal Bears both went 2-2 on the weekend. The No.1 pair of Mima Mirkovic/Caroline Schafer beat Arizona and was able to also take down the Stanford pair of Charlie Ekstron/Sunny Vollapando 22-20, 21-17. The No.2 pair of Ainsley Radell/Jordan Polo beat Arizona State on Saturday before also sweeping both sets over the Stanford pair of Xolani Hodel/Kate Reilly 21-15, 21-18.

The Golden Bears had two chances to clinch this match win with both No.4 and No.5 pairs going to a deciding 3rd set. The freshman pair of Brooke Buchner/Ava Mann at No.5 lost 21-18, 10-21, 11-15 despite a first set lead. It was down to the Maddie Micheletti/Maya Gessner at No.4. Micheletti and Gessner lost set 1, 18-21 but rallied to take set 2, 21-16. With a 14-13 lead and match point in the 3rd set, the following happened,

The Stanford duo of Maddie Dailey/Jordan McKinney hit the ball wide and the celebration was on for the Cal Beach Volleyball Bears.

Season Status:

A 1-3 weekend was certainly not ideal, but the Cal Bears got some valuable experiences of playing under pressure. There are two more weekends of action (both played down at Stanford) before the Pac-12 Championship in LA, where the Cal Bears really need to make a deep run to possibly gain one of 8 spots in the NCAA Championships.

Cal Rugby defeats BYU in season-opener

Senior wing Marcus Shankland scored three tries to lead the Cal Bears to a 37-28 win over the BYU Cougars on Saturday afternoon from Witter Rugby Field.

The Bears jumped out to a 10-0 lead after tries by Jason Severance and Nick Bloom. The first of Shankland’s try (conversion good by Sam Walsh) came after BYU got their first try and conversion. Three tries (1 by BYU, 2 by Cal) happened in the last 10 minutes of the first half as the Bears had a 27-14 halftime lead.

BYU dominated the start of the second half when they scored two tries and made those conversions to take a 28-27 lead at the 58th minute. Sophomore scrumhalf Max Clark answered with his first collegiate try just 4 minutes later to give the Bears a lead that they would not relinquish. A solid Cal frontline effort eventually turned into Shankland’s 3rd try, which iced the game with two minutes left.

Season Status:

The East Bay showdown against SMC (1-0) is up next Saturday at 1 PM PT for the Cal Golden Bears (1-0). This match will be shown live on Twitch. In a normal year, the Cal-SMC match is either the regular-season finale or a championship semifinal. This year, both sides will still be getting their feet under them with the late start. SMC was able to beat Central Washington 38-17 this past weekend.

Cal Women’s Rowing looks strong at the Las Vegas Invitational

Racing for the first time in 18 months, the Golden Bears had a solid start last weekend from Las Vegas. The Bears won all three races on Saturday.

1. Cal 7:19.75
2. Washington State 7:20.94
3. USC 7:34.78
4. San Diego 7:34.80

1. Cal 6:33.48
2. San Diego 6:38.78
3. Washington State 6:39.18
4. USC 6:40.07

1. Cal 6:21.91
2. USC 6:30.99
3. Washington State 6:35.35
4. San Diego 6:45.20

They followed that up with wins in V8 and 2V8 on Sunday.

1. Alabama 7:14.94
1. Cal 7:22.33
3. USC 7:32.14

1. Cal 6:31.10
2. Alabama 6:35.26
3. USC 6:48.21

1. Cal 6:17.39
2. Alabama 6:25.20
3. USC 6:32.29

The Varsity 8 boat was particularly impressive in improving their time by over 4 seconds between the two days. Just one Cal Bear (Kailani Marchak) remained from the V8 boat in 2019. Then again, the Bears only finished 6th in the country that year and 5th in V8 at the NCAA Championships, although that V8 boat did win the Pac-12 title.

Season Status:

It was a good start for the Cal Bears, who will next race in The Big Row vs. Stanford on the Oakland Estuary on April 24.

Cal Softball takes 3 out of 4 vs. Utah to win their 1st Pac-12 series of 2021

It was a battle of two equally matched teams in Berkeley last weekend when the Cal Bears (16-12, 3-6 in Pac-12) hosted the Utah Utes. Some timely hitting allowed the Bears to win 3 out of 4 very competitive games. Check out Pac-12 Networks’ highlight below.

Cal 3, Utah 2

Cal 3, Utah 4

Cal 6, Utah 4

Cal 6, Utah 4

Makena Smith continued to be Cal’s best hitter and managed to hit a homer in each of the three wins. Golden Bears also got homers in this 4-games series from Alexis Bishop, Sona Halajian, and D'Asha Saiki. Haylei Archer and Chloe Romero split time in the circle with Archer picking up 2 wins and Romero earning a win and a save.

Season Status:

After splitting two games earlier this year, Cal will head down to The Farm this weekend for their Pac-12 matchup against Stanford (23-11, 4-5 in Pac-12). Stanford went 1-3 last weekend at No.13 ASU. It does appear that there will be a live stream of at least the first match on Saturday at 1 PM PT.

No.4 Cal Women’s Water Polo defeats No.16 San Jose State twice

The Cal Bears improved to 9-4, 4-4 in MPSF with a pair of wins over the San Jose State Spartans last weekend.

Cal 12, San Jose State 7

Senior Brigit Mulder scored a career-high 5 goals in this one, including 3 penalties conversions.

Cal 11, San Jose State 2

Junior center Kitty Lynn Joustra had her best game of the 2021 season with a hat trick and six drawn exclusions. Joustra had a slow start to this season following an injury from playing with the Dutch national team. She missed the first 5 matches and had not been scoring in bunches, like she had done in the past wearing the Cal cap, until this match.

Season Status:

It is Big Splash weekend in Berkeley when No.4 Cal hosts No.2 Stanford twice. Having Joustra back to form cannot come at a more opportune time.

Cal Track and Field beats USC in a dual meet

Both the Cal Men and Women defeated their USC counterpart last weekend from Edwards Stadium last Saturday. The men won 66-60 and the women won 71-64.

It is not clear if USC sent their best squad for this meet since they have traditionally had a strong track program that produced a lot of Olympians in their history. Below is the list of all the Cal top-3 finishers.

Hammer Throw: 3. Ivar Moisander, 60.03m/196-11
Shot Put: 2. Josh Johnson, 19.23m/63-1.25
Long Jump: 2. Kamau Carlisle, 7.18m/23-6.75; 3. Sanjay Kettels, 7.09m/23-3.25
High Jump: 1. Jai Williams, 2.00m/6-6.75
Pole Vault: 1. Skyler Magula, 4.40m/14-5.25
Discus Throw: 1. Josh Johnson, 51.81m/169-11; 2. Justin Wirtz, 48.50m/159-1; 3. Jake Porter, 46.33m/152-0
Triple Jump: 2. Sanjay Kettels, 13.66m/44-9.75
1,500 Meters: 1. Jaden Rosenthal, 3:57.82; 3. Shane Bissell, 4:09.10
110 Hurdles: 2. Riley Hunt, 14.72
100 Meters: 3. Christian Catlin, 10.83
800 Meters: 1. Moises Medrano, 1:50.12 (PR); 2. Benjamin Micallef, 1:50.59
200 Meters: 1. Kyle Johnston, 21.90; 2. Christian Catlin, 21.97; 3. Henry Larkin, 22.13 (PR)
3,000 Meters: 2. Gabriel Abbes, 8:28.93; 3. Xavier Court, 8:33.93 (PR)

Hammer Throw: 1. Camryn Rogers, 71.16m/233-5; 2. Anna Purchase, 64.96m/213-1;
Javelin Throw: 1. Francesca Macias, 33.39m/109-6
Long Jump: 1. Asha Fletcher, 5.90m/19-4.25 (PR); 2. Windy Margerum, 5.65m/18-6.50; 3. Sydney Reid, 5.64m/18-6
Shot Put: 1. Krissy Smoot, 13.83m/45-4.50
Pole Vault: 1. Amari Turner, 3.70m/12-1.50; 2. Paige Martin, 3.55m/11-7.75
High Jump: 3. Hawa Wague, 1.67m/5-5.75
Discus Throw: 2. Jasmine Blair, 51.17m/167-10; 3. Krissy Smoot, 45.52m/149-4
Triple Jump: 2. Asha Fletcher, 13.02m/42-8.75w
1,500 Meters: 1. Meredith Corda, 4:35.55 (PR); 2. McKenna Brown, 4:35.82 (PR); 3. Claire Yerby, 4:38.04 (PR)
100 Hurdles: 2. Deshae Wise, 13.26 (PR); 3. Sonia Redon, 14.19 (PR)
100 Meters: 2. Ezinne Abba, 11.70
800 Meters: 2. Lauren Calcagno, 2:26.37
400 Hurdles: 2. Deshae Wise, 1:02.56 (PR); 3. Thea Moellerstedt, 1:05.36 (PR)

Season Status:

Twenty-two lifetime bests were set by the Bears in this meet as they ramped up their season. There will be another meet this weekend with the throws and distance groups going to Eugene, Oregon while the sprints and jumps groups heading to Tucson, Arizona. 

Cal Men’s Soccer earns win over San Diego State

In their penultimate regular-season match of spring 2021, the Cal Bears took care of business by beating San Diego State for the 2nd time.

Cal 3, San Diego State 1

26th minute: Evan Davila scored an equalizer from 22-yard out, with an assist by Lucas Churchill. San Diego State had scored the opening goal of the match back in the 5th minute.

50th minute: Bears took the lead on Jonatha Estrada’s penalty. Francisco Perez had drawn the foul inside the box.

56th minute: Jonathan Estrada assisted on JJ Foe Nuphaus’ goal here.

The Cal Bears outshot the Aztecs 19 to 7 in this match. Collin Travasos only needed to make one save though.

Season Status:

The Cal Bears (4-4-1, 4-4-1 in Pac-12) will conclude the spring season at UCLA on Saturday at 2:30 PM PT on the Pac-12 Networks. The entire NCAA postseason and its 36 team field will be played in North Carolina this year. Unfortunately, the Cal Bears are currently 44th in the RPI; they are unlikely to improve too much even with another win against a weak UCLA (2-7-2) team in the finale.

Cal Baseball salvages a game at Arizona

Cal 1, Arizona 5

Cal 3, Arizona 4

Cal 9, Arizona 1

The Bears won the lone rout of the weekend in the final game of the 3-game series. Dylan Beaver hit a grand slam and Steven Zobac also went yard in this game. Freshman Paulshawn Pasqualotto tossed six shutout innings.

Cal 3, SMC 2

An 8th inning run scored on a passed ball allowed the Bears to escape Moraga with a W on Tuesday. It was a bullpen effort on the mound as 7 pitchers were used by Cal head coach Mike Neu.

Darren Baker now owns an active reached-base streak of 35 games long after reaching base in all 4 games last week. The senior 2nd baseman is also a big reason why the Cal Bears lead the Pac with 26 double plays turned.

Season Status:

Cal Bears (18-13, 5-4 in Pac-12) kept their Pac-12 hope alive by salvaging the series finale at No.22 Arizona. The Bears’ RPI only improved from 113 to 103, however, despite the win over RPI No.3 Arizona on the road.

The Bears will face Oregon State (21-10, 7-5 in Pac-12) in a 3-game series at Corvalis this weekend. Stanford and Oregon share the current Pac-12 lead with identical 6-3 conference records. Oregon won their Civil War series vs. Oregon State last weekend; both Oregon schools were ranked in the top-25 last week.