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Close Match Ends Cal On Top

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Close Match Ends Cal On Top

Photo courtesy of Cal Women's Rugby

The University of California redeemed itself on Saturday after its prior loss against UC Davis, battling Chico State with a better performance around the breakdown to secure a 27-22 win.

Chico State is known as a strong team that attacks down the middle and overwhelms the defense until there is a breakdown in communication. With a fairly inexperienced team, Cal coach Mari Triplett knew winning the breakdown would be a necessity in order to win the overall game.

“As far as the basics of our defense goes, we did a good job with not letting the runners go past the gain line,” Triplett said. “The game plan we set up relied a lot on our forwards before we sent it to the backs.”

If anything, Cal got too caught up in using their forwards and lost some precious meters by not sending it out to the backs soon enough to allow the women to exploit Chico State’s bunched defense. However, Chico State didn’t disappoint when it came to producing hard runners. As expected, Chico State played physically and didn’t back down throughout the entirety of the 80 minutes. Even within the last five minutes of the game, the ball turnover could have been won to put Chico State ahead. However, Cal pushed through and took the game, especially by continually producing hard runs from set pieces.

“I think they put out in front of us,” Triplett said.

Cathy Cai, Abby Vogel, and Tyana Cullen each scored for Cal while Greer Sullivan followed with a conversion.

Cal is slated to see Stanford on Super Bowl Sunday where they hope to fill the gaps and weaknesses in their own play. Stanford has speed and loves to get ball wide quickly, so Cal will need to learn how to optimize its power structures.