Palms of Victory: Softball scores 21 runs in a win, W. Gymnastics continues to roll
Cal Softball's 21 runs scored in the win over Santa Clara was their highest total since 1993
Here are all the Cal victories from March 4th to 11th of 2021.
Cal Women’s Gymnastics may now be the favorites to win the Pac-12
In case you missed it, Cal Women’s Gymnastics had a historically great day against UCLA last Saturday - tying the NCAA record for uneven bars team score (49.825) and shattering the previous team score in Cal history (198.050, a significant improvement over the previous high of 197.675 from 2019).
For her perfect 10 on the uneven bars and a near-perfect beam routine in the UCLA meet, senior Emi Watterson earned the Pac-12 Specialist of the Week honor.
The Golden Bears have ascended in the national rankings, becoming only one of five teams to score over 198 in the team score. The Bears’ season-high tied LSU for the 3rd best this year behind Oklahoma and Florida. Michigan also just broke 198 for the first time in program history last weekend.
While the national qualifying score for Cal is still a tad behind that of No.5 Utah, the Bears already improved their score via the midweek victory at Washington when they posted the season’s 2nd best road score.
Here are some cool photos from that meet. Watterson actually had a bad meet (both of her scores were dropped) but you could not tell that from the photos below.
Naveah DeSouza won 3 individual titles (uneven bars, vault, balance beam) and the all-around at this meet.
Season status: The regular season will end with one final home meet when the Bears host Washington on Sunday (the midweek meet was a last-minute addition after Stanford had to cancel last week). Then it will be the Pac-12 Championship hosted by Utah next Saturday. For the first time in program history, the California Golden Bears (6-1) have a legitimate chance at winning the conference championship even if it will be hard to beat the Utah Red Rocks in their home gym.
Cal Lacrosse earns the first victory of the season
Cal 14, Fresno State 12
Sophomore goalkeeper Riley Drullinger recorded a career-high 14 saves to give the Golden Bears their first 2021 win on their 3rd game of the season. It was a back-and-forth game between the Bears and host Fresno State as the two sides traded goals to forge an 8-8 tie at the half. The Bears started the 2nd half with 4 consecutive goals before holding on for the win.
Quinnlyn Mason scored 4 goals to lead the Bears. Megan Mix, Marisa Kuberra, and Maya Lawliss each recorded a brace. What was particularly promising was how it was the underclassmen that led the way in this game. Mason and Mix are both freshmen while Kuberra and Lawliss are just sophomores.
Season status: Cal Lacrosse (1-2) will return to Memorial Stadium to host No.18 USC on Friday night. It is too early to say if the Golden Bears have made a significant stride from 2020 when they were 2-5 before the season was canceled.
Cal Softball has the biggest scoring outburst in 28 years
Cal 21, Santa Clara 4
Cal improved to 87-0 all-time against Santa Clara by scoring the most runs since 1993 (when they scored 22 against Stanford). The Bears scored in all 5 innings (the game was shortened due to “run rule” AKA mercy rule) and got 20 hits with 3 homers (Sophie Medellin, Tatum Anzaldo, and Sona Halajian).
Cal 1, UCSB 0
After beating Stanford the previous weekend, freshman Haylei Archer picked up her 2nd win. Archer pitched the final 2.1 innings after fellow freshman pitcher Sona Halajian went the first 4.2 innings. A Sophie Medellin RBI in the 5th was all the run that was needed.
Cal 7, UCSB 5
A 5-run outburst in the 6th, capped by a grand slam by sophomore Kacey Zobac, allowed the Cal Bears to overcome a 3-2 deficit. Makena Smith hit a solo homer earlier in this game.
Season status: At 7-3, Cal Softball is a flawed but improving team that showed a lot of fight last week when they went 3-1. Even in the loss against BYU, the Bears scored 2 in the 6th and 3 in the 7th to send the game to extra innings.
The Bears have taken advantage of a not-particularly-strong schedule by outslugging their opponents while slashing 0.322 (batting average)/ 0.404 (on-base percentage)/ 0.460 (slugging percentage) as a team. The Cal offense is led by Makena Smith and Karlee Sparacino. However, the Cal pitching has only been okay with a fine 2.65 ERA but a worrisome 1.39 WHIP.
The Bears will face UC Davis twice and Fresno State twice this weekend before a midweek game at Pacific. Then the always tough Pac-12 play will start at Oregon State next weekend.
No.5 Cal Women’s Water Polo stays perfect
Cal keeper Cassidy Ball made 5 key saves in the last 5 minutes to allow the Golden Bears to hold on against No.9 UCSB. Ball made 12 saves overall.
As they have done all season long, senior Brigit Mulder and junior Elli Protopapas led the way by each scoring a brace. Protopapas also had a team-high four steals.
Freshman Mallory Reynoso earned the MPF Newcomer of the Week honor for getting three steals.
Season status: The talented Cal freshmen group had already contributed to the team’s early successes with Reagan Whitney (9 goals), Maryn Dempsey (7 goals), and Mallory Reynoso making big splashes. Cal will hopefully get star center Kitty Lynn Joustra (34 goals in 2019 and 2020 Olympic opt-out) back at some point from injury for that additional scoring punch.
The 5-0 Cal Bears will face a different level of tests this Saturday and Sunday when they play two at No.3 UCLA (2-0).
Cal Women’s Soccer splits their first homestand
Cal 1, Utah 0
Sophomore transfer striker Keely Roy scored her first Cal goal, with an assist from Emma Westin, and the Bears earned their first home victory of the season from Witter Rugby Field last Sunday. Sophomore keeper Angelina Anderson made 5 saves for the clean sheet.
Check out the highlights from the Pac-12 Network below.
Season status: The Bears (3-1) split the two home matches against the mountain schools last weekend with Colorado winning 2-1. Cal’s No.1 in the country freshman class has made big impacts with senior midfielder Emma Westin (team-high 2 goals and 2 assists) making plays everywhere. Although senior defender Emily Smith remained out after the first match of this season, the Bears have had enough quality depth to thrive.
Golden Bears’ match at Washington State this weekend was canceled due to COVID problems by Washington State, but the Bears will play at Washington on Sunday.
Cal Track and Field dominates in the outdoor season opener
Even without Camryn Rogers who was away to compete in the NCAA Indoor Championships, the rest of the Golden Bears had a fine opening of their outdoor season.
The Cal weight throwing group got another big honor when sophomore Anna Purchase was named the USTFCCCA Women’s National Athlete of the Week. She was the first Cal Bear to earn this national honor in program history.
The Golden Bears will compete at the Trojan Invitational next weekend.
Cal Women’s Tennis splits Pac-12 opening mountain trip
Cal 7, Utah 0
No.12 Cal Bears bounced back from a narrow 4-3 upset loss to Colorado in their Pac-12 opener by dominating the Utes in a 7-0 sweep. The Bears only dropped one set in singles.
Season status: The Bears (7-2) drops to No.17 in the rankings. Cal will play San Diego in a non-conference meet this weekend before resuming Pac-12 play. Sophomore Valentina Ivanov clearly got a lot of talent to own the No.26 singles ranking, but she had yet to dominate despite playing in the No.3 singles matches. Top recruit freshmen Jada Bui and Hannah Viller Moeller as the No.4 and No.5 singles player, respectively are also somewhat unknown quantities at this juncture of the season.
As they have shown by their 4-3 win over UCLA earlier this season, Cal women’s tennis got enough talent to beat anyone. They are just still searching for that consistency.
Cal Beach Volleyball salvages one win after winning streak was snapped
After dropping the meet at No.4 UCLA (it was the first streamed meet of the season for the Bears, so I at least finally got to see them in action) to end the 11-match winning streak that dated back to 2020, No.8 Cal Bears picked up an easy win over Concordia. Unfortunately, the Bears then lost to No.7 Loyola Marymount with the only victory coming from court 1 when Mima Mirkovic/Caroline Schafer defeated Megan Rice/Iya Lindahl by a 25-23, 20-22, 16-14 score. If you recognize Iya Lindahl’s name, you may remember her as Mirkovic’s partner as the top Cal pair last year. Lindahl became a graduate transfer to LMU during this offseason.
Season status: A week after earning the best ranking in program history, Cal (3-2) learned that they still got some ways to improve against the higher-ranked opponents. The Bears will face UC Davis and No.5 Hawaii on Tuesday before a rematch against UCLA next weekend.
Covered Elsewhere on Write for California:
Cal Baseball wins 4-game series against SMC
Game 1: Cal 16, St. Mary’s 3
Game 2: Cal 2, St. Mary’s 1 (11 innings)
Game 3: Cal 4, St. Mary’s 2
Josh White tossed 6.2 scoreless innings in relief to improve his season stats to 0.59 ERA with 22 strikeouts to just 3 walks in 15.1 innings. Two-way player Steven Zobac, twin brother of Cal Softball’s Kacey Zobac, might have secured the closer role by registering his second save of the season. Tanner Dodson held that outfielder/closer role for the Cal Bears a few years ago.
Sean Sullivan, the preseason highest-ranked Cal player by Baseball America, only lasted one inning as the starter for the Bears by allowing two runs. Quentin Selma tied the game with a two-run homer in the sixth, one batter after Dylan Beaver spoiled SMC’s no-hit bid. Bears score two runs in the eighth via a sacrifice fly (Beaver) and a bases-loaded HBP (Zobac) to clinch the series.
Season status: After a tough first weekend, Cal Baseball (7-5) has rebounded with two series wins. The Bears will host Loyola Marymount for 4 games this weekend (no home-and-home unlike the past three weekends).
I think one can find both praises and faults in all aspects of the team right now. Granted, the only games that I have been able to watch are the road ones where the Bears have played worse (2-4 record), but the Bears will have two more weekends of non-conference play before the Pac-12 season opener at Utah.
ROLL ON YOU BEARS!