Rohnert Park, CA – On Saturday, the Sonoma State men’s lacrosse team traveled to the campus of UC-Berkeley to take on the Cal Bears in an early season WCLL tilt. The Seawolves looked for some revenge after the Bears crushed their hopes of making nationals by beating them in the WCLL semifinals 10-9 in a double overtime thriller.
“We’ve had this game circled on our calendar since last year’s playoff loss to them,” captain Ryan Heidrich said.
The game was tied at eight going into the fourth quarter, but the Sonoma defense held the Bears scoreless in the 4th quarter and sophomore attackman Blane Sando’s goal with five-minutes left in the final frame would be the difference maker.
The game started off with the Bears controlling the first faceoff and sophomore attakman Sean Hayden scoring on a drive from X. Nic Scaramella would win the ensuing faceoff for Sonoma and senior Heidrich would tie the game at one.
Hayden would score his second goal of the game on a lefty drive from X to make the score 2-1. A nice outlet pass by Seawolf goalkeeper Dylan Fannin would lead to a fast break in which freshman Zach Swinford would find senior Matty Gillan on the crease to knot the game at 2. Turnovers by each team would halt the scoring until freshman Brad Bochesa found the back of the net late in the 2nd quarter to give the Seawolves their first lead of the game at 3-2. However, Cal would score two straight goals to make the game 4-3 at halftime.
“At halftime we felt that we needed to improve our clearing game and improve some sloppy play,” Senior midfielder Brian Ponzi said. “There were times where we just threw the ball away.”
Cal would open up the second half with another goal to extend their lead to 5-3. A turnover by Cal would lead to a goal by Blane Sando and then Gillan would take a down pass from freshman Ashton Ward, beat his man at X and turn the corner lefty to tie the game at five.
UC-Berkeley would respond with a goal of their own, but Heidrich would answer back with his second goal of the game to tie the game at six. The Bears would turn to senior Daniel Cohen who scored the next two goals to give himself a hat trick and his team an 8-6 lead late in the 3rd quarter.
That would be the last of the scoring for the Bears. A fast break goal by sophomore Connor Kuehnle and a man-up tally by Heidrich would tie the game at eight going into the fourth quarter.
Good defense and great goalie play would be the trend of the final frame, and both teams would be held scoreless for the first ten minutes of the quarter. At the five-minute mark, Kuehnle would shoot wide, but Gillan would corral the rebound and feed Sando on the right wing who would stick a low-and-away goal to break the 8-8 tie.
Both teams would trade multiple possessions, but the Seawolves would stop a Cal offensive attack with a minute left, clear the ball and run out the clock to preserve a 9-8 victory.
Both teams were marred by sloppy play throughout the game, the result of a slippery field and early season jitters.
The Seniors on the SSU Men’s Lacrosse team had never beaten Cal in a Sonoma uniform and the Seawolves haven’t beat the Bears since the 2009 WCLL semifinals. “It was nice to finally get a win against these guys,” captain Matty Gillan said. “But it doesn’t mean anything if we can’t keep winning, we still have a lot of work to do.