March 7, 2011

Cal Takes On Northwestern Juggernaut

from press release

BERKELEY – California takes on arguably its most talented opponent of the season in second-ranked and 2010 NCAA runner-up Northwestern at 1 p.m. PT on Friday, March 11, at Lakeside Field in Evanston, Ill. Cal brings a 3-2 record into the nonconference game, while the Wildcats are unbeaten at 5-0.

Cal lost to its only common opponent so far with Northwestern, as the Bears fell to then-No. 10 Notre Dame, 20-6, in its season-opening game on Feb. 11 at Witter Rugby Field. The Wildcats beat the Irish, 14-11, in NU's season opener on Feb. 19 in Notre Dam, Ind. The Bears have a 0-7 record in the all-time series with Northwestern, which defeated the Bears, 17-3, last year in Berkeley.

Scouting the Golden Bears

Junior attacker Tara Arolla leads Cal in goals with 13 and points with 16; she also has three assists. Sophomore midfielder Megan Takacs and sophomore attacker Alexa Rozelle are tied for the team high in assists (4), while Takacs paces the Bears with two game-winning goals. Junior defender Tori Harrison tops the squad with 16 ground balls, junior midfielder Vail Horn and freshman midfielder Amelia Burke are tied for the lead in draw controls (8), and senior goalkeeper Allie Shropshire holds a 10.36 goals-against average in five starts.

Theresa Sherry is in her fourth year as Cal's head coach.

Scouting the Wildcats

Northwestern defeated four nationally ranked opponents as part of its five-game road trip to start the season. The Wildcats opened the year by topping then-No. 10 Notre Dame, 14-11, edging then-No. 3 North Carolina, 7-6, in overtime, beating then-No. 17 Vanderbilt, 17-6, and, in their last game, triumphing over then-No. 7 Georgetown, 24-15, on March 5.

Junior midfielder/attacker Shannon Smith, an IWLCA first-team All-American in 2010, paces the Wildcats in goals (18), assists (14) and points (32).

Sophomore midfielder Ali Cassera paces Northwestern in ground balls (14) and freshman midfielder Alyssa Leonard leads her team in draw controls (24). Junior goalie Brianne LoManto has compiled an 8.01 GAA in five starts.

Tenth-year head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller led NU to five straight NCAA titles before last year's second-place result.

Cal-Northwestern Connections

Bears freshman defender Marissa O'Meally played on the same Bay Shore (Bay Shore, N.Y.) High School team as Northwestern freshman Alyssa Leonard and sophomore midfielder Alexa deLyra. Cal freshman defender Jacqueline Pelletier played with Wildcats senior Rachel Fox for one season on the Andover (Andover, Mass.) High School squad.

Last Time Out

Tara Arolla scored a career-high seven points to lead Cal to a 14-10 victory over Davidson on Feb. 27 at Richardson Stadium in Davidson, N.C. Vail Horn added four goals and Megan Takacs contributed three goals and one assist for the Bears, who improved their record to 3-2 after the nonconference victory. Davidson fell to 0-4.

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