February 8, 2011

Cal Opens Season with Notre Dame Friday

from press release

BERKELEY – The California lacrosse team starts the 2011 season with a match against No. 10/12 Notre Dame at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 11, at the Golden Bears' new home – Witter Rugby Field. The Bears will take on UC Davis, a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opponent, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 13, also at Witter, where Cal will play its six home games this season due to the renovation of Memorial Stadium. Besides the new home field, 2011 will feature an improved opportunity to reach the NCAA Tournament, as for the first time the MPSF champion will receive an automatic bid into the postseason.

Notre Dame is ranked No. 10 by Inside Lacrosse magazine and No. 12 by the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association. The Notre Dame match will pit first-year Cal assistant coach and former Irish assistant coach Meredith Simon Black against her alma mater. Last season, the Irish edged Cal, 14-12, in overtime in Berkeley, while UC Davis slipped by the Bears, 12-10, in the season opener in Davis, Calif.

Scouting the Golden Bears

Cal head coach Theresa Sherry will rely on veterans including Allie Shropshire, Vail Horn and Tara Arolla to lead a young squad that features eight freshmen and 10 sophomores in 2011. All three upperclassmen earned spots on the 2010 MPSF All-Tournament team. Horn, a junior midfielder, garnered a spot on the All-MPSF first team in 2010, when she ranked third in goals (35), tied Arolla for third in points (39) and tied for the lead in game-winning goals (2) at Cal. Shropshire, a senior goalkeeper, claimed a berth on the All-MPSF second-team after posting a 10.83 goals-against average. Arolla ranked fourth in goals (26) and second in assists (13) as a sophomore.

The Bears garnered a third-place tie with Oregon in the MPSF Coaches' Preseason Poll. Cal tied with the Ducks for third place in the conference last season.

Cal will play a schedule that boasts four nationally ranked opponents, including MPSF rivals Stanford and Denver. Besides Notre Dame, the Bears play No. 2/2 Northwestern on March 11 in Evanston, Ill., No. 13 (IWLCA)/14 (Inside Lacrosse) Stanford on April 1 in Stanford, Calif., and No. 20/20 Denver on April 16 in Denver.

Scouting the Opposition
The Fighting Irish reached the NCAA Tournament in 2010, falling to eventual NCAA runner-up Northwestern, 17-9, in the first round. Returning for Notre Dame are senior first-team All-America midfielder/defender Jackie Doherty, senior second-team All-America midfielder Shalylyn Blaney (40 goals, 3 assists, 43 points in 2010) and sophomore goalie Ellie Hilling (9.69 GAA last year). Tracy Coyne is in her 24th year as head coach of the Irish.

The UC Davis game will also be the Aggies' season opener. Davis reached the other MPSF Tournament semifinal in 2010, falling to eventual conference runner-up Denver, 14-9. Senior goalkeeper Alyssa Cranska, a 2010 MPSF All-Tournament pick, posted a 10.43 GAA in 17 games and 12 starts last season. Senior midfielder Gina Hoffmire, a 2010 All-MPSF first-team selection, paced the Aggies in points (59) and goals (50) last year.

Elaine Jones is in her eighth season as head coach of UC Davis. Theresa Sherry Claims IWLCA Service Award Cal head coach Theresa Sherry earned the IWLCA Service Award for 2009-10, the coaching body announced on Oct. 12, 2010. The IWLCA bestows the honor on a member of the organization who has provided exceptional efforts on behalf of the association. The national coaching body honored Sherry for her role as chair of the IWLCA's Recruiting/Club Team Issues Committee.

Red Cross Honors Bears

The Alameda County Red Cross chapter awarded the Cal program with its Act of Kindness and Philanthropy Hero award at the Alameda County Heroes Breakfast on Oct. 7, 2010. The award honored the Bears for their courage in supporting former teammate Tighe Hutchins when a life-threatening illness struck her in fall 2009.

A Look Back at the 2010 Season

Cal concluded last season in the semifinal round of the MPSF Tournament, falling to rival and eventual conference champion Stanford, 9-7, on April 30 in Denver. Allie Shropshire made career-high 17 saves and junior midfielder Allie Welsh scored four goals against the Cardinal. Shropshire and Tara Arolla, who collected a total of two goals and five assists in Denver, earned spots on the MPSF All-Tournament team. Vail Horn tied a school record by scoring seven goals in a 20-11 quarterfinal victory over Saint Mary's.

Senior attacker Alyse Kennedy led Cal in points (46) and goals (39) in her final season. The Bears wound up with an 8-10 record, which included a 16-0 rout of Fresno State in the regular-season finale and a four-game winning streak prior to the Cardinal match.

The 2010 All-MPSF teams featured six Bears: First team – Horn, Kennedy, senior defender DennaFaye Herald, senior midfielder Alex Tickner; second team: Shropshire and Welsh. Cal put nine Bears on the 2010 MPSF All-Academic team: Arolla, Kennedy, Horn, Tickner, junior midfielder Emily Abbood, sophomore defender Tori Harrison, junior midfielder Chapin Jackson, sophomore midfielder Lauren Johnson and sophomore defender Melissa Sheehan.

Follow the Bears on Twitter, Facebook

Looking for even more Cal lacrosse news? Join the Bears in their new territory - Facebook and Twitter. By liking Cal Lacrosse on Facebook, you can see photos, discuss the latest happenings with fellow fans and much more on the social networking site. Following @CalWLacrosse on Twitter means similar inside information, status updates of the Bears well as up-to-date scoring information.

Next Time

Cal hosts MPSF foe Saint Mary's at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 19, at Witter Rugby Field.

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