March 17, 2011

Cal Defense Holds Off High-Scoring Navy

from press release

BERKELEY -- Tara Arolla and Gina Holslag scored three points each and the Golden Bears played strong defense to lead California to a 13-6 win over high-scoring Navy on Thursday afternoon at Witter Rugby Field.

Arolla, a junior attacker, scored a hat trick and Holslag, a sophomore attacker, notched two goals and one assist for the Bears, whose defense - including junior Tori Harrison, junior Melissa Sheehan and freshman Grace Parente - also earned kudos.

"I'm really proud of the girls," Cal head coach Theresa Sherry said. "We've been waiting a long time to see them put together 60 minutes. We've been talking about the game as four quarters, breaking down the game into little pieces and really controlling each moment.

"Navy is a very good team. They're putting up a lot of points. Some of their attackers lead the nation in points and goals. This is a very important game to see what we were made of. This is also a very physical team, and I thought our girls were tough today. On all ends of the field, everybody contributed today. We did a great job on defense, shutting down some of their main threats, and on the attack, picking our moments on when to go to goal."

Coming into the match, Navy boasted the nation's leaders in points in Jasmine DePompeo and Aimee Gennaro, who each had scored 40 points prior to Thursday. While Gennaro collected two goals and one assist, the Bears shut out DePompeo, who tallied zero points and zero shots. Cal also held Gennaro to two goals under her average. The freshman attacker, who had been tied for the most goals in the country with 32, ranked fifth in goals per game at 4.00 heading into the game.
"Tori Harrison did a great job," Sherry said. "Tori and Grace Parente kind of matched up on their top players, and then with our middies getting back on defense - they were doing a lot of work for us. We were proud of that."

The Mids missed Caitlin Mandarin Hill for the second straight game. The senior attacker led the nation in assists with 19 prior to Thursday,

Navy got on the scoreboard first when Katrina Nietsch, who wound up with a hat trick, converted an eight-meter goal at 6:29. Goals by sophomore midfielder Megan Takacs at 8:05 and 8:42 gave the Bears a 2-1 lead. Holslag, assisted by Harrison, tacked on her first strike at 10:43 to make the score 3-1.

Gennaro scored the first of her two goals at 13:34 to cut the lead to one at 3-2. But Cal scored three of the last four goals - from freshman midfielder Paige Gasparino at 14:24, junior midfielder Vail Horn at 20:40 and freshman midfielder Amelia Burke at 25:29 - of the first half to take a 6-3 lead into halftime. Gennaro collected Navy's goal during that stretch by converting a free-position shot at 19:54.

Arolla scored her first goal at 32:52 and then Nietsch hit the back of the net at 9:06 to make the score 7-4. Sophomore midfielder Melissa Humphrey scored at 40:44 and Nietsch struck again at 41:27 to leave the Bears with an 8-5 advantage.

That three-goal margin was the closest the Mids would come to Cal the rest of the game, as the Bears scored five of the final six goals of the game. Arolla collected her second at 44:37, Humphrey tallied her second with an eight-meter goal at 49:35, Arolla completed her hat trick at 50:16, Holslag hit paydirt at 54:45 and Parente scored the first goal of her Cal career at 59:52 to hand the Bears their 13-6 victory.

Navy collected its last goal when Gennaro assisted Danielle Vivonnetto at 50:41.

Cal hits the road Friday and plays Ohio State at 10 a.m. PT on Sunday, March 20, in Columbus, Ohio.

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