April 24, 2009

Cal Edges Oregon to Reach MPSF Final

from press release

STANFORD, Calif. - California edged Oregon by one goal, 10-9, on Friday for the second time in seven days to advance to the MPSF Tournament final against host Stanford on Sunday, April 26. Junior midfielder Alex Tickner scored at the 47-minute mark to give the third-seeded Golden Bears a 10-6 lead, and Cal held on for the victory against the second-seeded Ducks. Senior goalkeeper Morgan Dyson made 14 saves in Cal's win, which pushed the Bears' record to 8-10. Top-seeded Stanford defeated fifth-seeded UC Davis, 17-3, in Friday's other semifinal. The tournament final is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Cal's last game before the MPSF Tournament was a 13-12 overtime sudden victory against the Ducks on April 17 in Berkeley.

"We knew they were going to be out for blood, and it's very hard to beat a team twice, so we knew it was going to be a battle," Cal head coach Theresa Sherry said. "Even though we have confidence in our skills, we knew it was going to come down to a close game. I'm just proud of these guys. We've really made a change from the beginning of the season to the end. My team is tougher. They play together. We're not relying on one or two individuals. We're succeeding now because every single person that needs to is making an impact.

"But we're not done yet. We want to make some changes from some things we did today. We want a championship. We don't want to just be in the championship."

After Tickner's goal, Cal had four more shots, two of which were saved. The last, a blast by Catie O'Mahoney, hit the post. O'Mahoney, junior midfielder Alyse Kennedy and senior attacker/midfielder Elizabeth T Jahp each scored two goals to pace the Bears. Ilsa van den Berg (2 goals, 1 assists) and Alex Breiner (3 assists) each scored three points to lead Oregon.

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The Bears held Oregon freshman midfielder Jana Drummond to one goal in the conference tournament match. Drummond, the MPSF Co-Newcomer of the Year, scored seven goals in the April 17 meeting between the two teams.

Bears junior DennaFaye Herald spent much of the game defending Drummond.

"She's a really strong player, and she loves the right hand," Herald said. "I basically tried to study what she's good at, predict what she was going to do and use my body and try not to foul; just get in front of her and try to hold her. The defense did a good job of crashing, too, whenever she did get past me."

"I'd say DennaFaye Herald was the MVP of the game," Sherry said. "She worked like a dog in midfield. She's making stops in the defensive end and taking care of the ball on the attacking end. I don't know if that shows up in stats. But we saw today why she's all-conference. If you had to pick one person who stood out for us today, she did a phenomenal job. Morgan also did a phenomenal job. I'm really just proud of the whole team effort."

Cal allowed an early goal - Alicia Burkhart scored in the 16th second to give the Ducks the 1-0 lead - but rebounded to tie Oregon, 1-1, with O'Mahoney's first at 1:04.

Oregon outshot Cal, 23-10, in the first half, with senior goalkeeper Morgan Dyson making nine saves to keep the score close. She made stopped wide open shots by Breiner (6:03) and Erin Chisnell (17:58).

Four different Bears scored the rest of the half - Kennedy twice, and Jahp, freshman midfielder Vail Horn and sophomore midfielder Molly Everett each scored once - and Cal was in a familiar situation with the Ducks - tied, at 6-6 - at the break. Horn's goal came at the 16:15 mark after she won the draw control and sprinted into Oregon's end to score unassisted.

Cal outscored Oregon, 4-0, to open the second half and take its 10-6 lead. O'Mahoney, set up by sophomore midfielder Emily Abbood, scored at 33:17, Jahp, assisted by senior attacker Sam Price, tallied at 34:33 and Price converted an eight-meter shot at 40:58 before Tickner's free-position goal at 47:00.

Oregon's Anna Poponyak allowed all 10 of Cal's goals, but the Ducks replaced the All-MPSF goalie with backup Hannah Jones immediately after Tickner's goal. Jones made two saves in her 13 minutes of play and did not allow a goal.

The Bears did not score for the final 13 minutes of the game. Meanwhile, Oregon got goals from Celeste Mayer (44:58), van den Berg (47:58) and, almost 10 minutes later, Catherine Davidson (57:29) to climb within one of Cal at 10-9.

But Oregon did not get another shot off the rest of the way.

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