Rowing: Cal women win 6th straight Pac-12 title

The No. 2-ranked Cal women’s rowing team won its sixth straight Pac-12 title on Sunday, with victories in the varsity four and second varsity at Lake Natoma.

The Bears totaled 39 points to edge second-place and top-ranked USC (37.5) and third-place and fourth-ranked Washington (36.5) in the team standings.

Cal, which has won nine of the past 10 conference titles, awaits Tuesday’s seeding for the NCAA championships, to be held May 31 through June 2 at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis.


Water polo: Csikos breaks career record

Senior Emily Csikos had two goals Saturday in a 14-7 win over Cal State Bakersfield to become Cal’s career scoring leader. Csikos now has 214 career goals.

A three-time All-America selection, Csikos leads Cal with 47 goals this season.

— Rugby: The Bears rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit to beat Saint Mary’s 42-31 in front of a full house at Witter Field to close the regular season with a perfect 19-9 record.

Cal returns to action next in the Varsity Cup tournament, beginning Saturday at Annapolis, Md., against Notre Dame. The event runs through the May 4 championship at Provo, Utah.


Water polo: Csikos on cusp of scoring record

Senior Emily Csikos is about to become the all-time leading scorer in Cal women’s water polo history.

With her next goal — likely on Saturday at Cal State Bakersfield — Csikos will pass Coleette Glinkowski as the fifth-ranked Bears’ most prolific scorer.

Csikos and Glinkowski (1997-2000) current share the top spot with 212 goals.

A native of Calgary, Csikos moved to Montreal after high school graduation and and spent two years training with the Canadian National Team. She enrolled at Cal in the fall of 2008, although she continued to commute back to Canada to prep for a shot at the 2012 London Olympics.

Csikos was an immediate hit with the Bears, scoring 65 goals her freshman campaign. As a sophomore in 2010, Csikos found the net 69 times, fifth-most in school history. A year later, she was a finalist for the 2011 Peter J. Cutino Award, given to the top player in the country.

A three-time All-American, has scored 43 goals in 18 games this season.

She skipped the college season last spring as the Canadian team traveled to Italy for an Olympic qualifying tournament. Csikos and her national teammates missed out on a spot at the London Games, but she returned to Berkeley and will graduate this semester.

Then, it’s back to Montreal to resume training with the Canadian national team.


Football: QB Allan Bridgford leaves team; will take weekend to decide future with the program

Senior Allan Bridgford, Cal’s most experienced quarterback, has left the team to decide if he wants to remain part of the program after being told his spring practice opportunities would diminish.

“He kind of got some news from us that he was going to get some reduced reps. Decided he going to take a day or two to kind of assess things some things,” coach Sonny Dykes said.
Dykes said Bridgford will discuss his options with his family over the weekend and report back to the coaching staff by Monday.
Dykes said Bridgford would be welcome to return. “It wouldn’t be a big deal,” Dykes said.
But freshman Jared Goff, redshirt freshman Zach Kline and sophomore Austin Hinder have “kind of distinguished themselves and deserve to get more reps,” Dykes said.
Bridgford started three games last season — the opener vs. Nevada and the final two games after Zach Maynard suffered a season-ending knee injury. He completed 45.6 percent of his passes for 277 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. The Bears did not win any of the three games.
Without Bridgford at practice Wednesday, Goff, Kline and Hinder had what Dykes called “their best performance to date” in Cal’s fifth spring workout.
“Hinder has done some things pretty good, has gotten better and better and better every time he’s come out here,” Dykes said. “I think we’ve all been surprised with Goff and how far along he is for a young guy. Kline’s got a lot of talent and continues to do some good things.
“All of them are dealing with the same thing, which is a little bit of (in)consistency. But I thought today was their best performance by far. I think the guys are starting to pick things up.
“The ball is coming out earlier, on time. The ball is coming out to spots on the field that make sense. And we had some receivers that made more plays today on balls. It’s starting to look more like a semblance of an offense. We’ve still got a long way to go, but it’s starting to get cleaner and cleaner and cleaner.”
The Bears plan to scrimmage during a portion of Saturday’s workout, which runs from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Dykes said he anticipates releasing an initial depth chart by Monday.
But he cautioned that it will be very tentative, and said it’s possible spring practice will end March 23 without the starting quarterback job resolved.
“I would think it’s probable. We’ll come out with somebody we think is a starter, but that’s going to be decided in (August) two-a-days,” he said. “So I don’t know if it does us any good to name a starter in the spring.
“If there is one, we’ll name one. If it’s still a tight competition we’ll carry it into the summer. Even if we name a starter, he’ll still have to prove himself during camp. We’ll see how it plays out.”
NOTE: Dykes said that senior safety Alex Logan, who was working with the first defense, will miss the remainder of spring ball with a knee injury. He does not believe Logan will require surgery.  

Swimming: Cal gets commit from Olympic star

Turns out Saturday wasn’t a total loss for Cal.

Olympic swim star Missy Franklin, who won five medals at the London Games, has committed to attend Cal next fall.

The U.S. women’s team was coached by Cal coach Teri McKeever, and the connection obviously paid off for the Bears.

Here’s the story, including details of Cal’s water polo win over Stanford in the Big Splash.


Golf: Bears advance to NCAA semifinals

The Cal men’s golf team utilized its superior depth to beat San Diego State 3-2 in quarterfinal match play Friday at the NCAA championships at the Riviera Country Club at Pacific Palisades.

Max Homa and Brandon Hagy, Cal’s Nos. 1 and 2 players, both lost to the Aztecs. But Pace Johnson, Michael Kim and Joel Stalter posted victories to help the Bears advance to Saturday’s semifinal round.

Stalter’s 20-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole gave him a 2 and 1 win over Alex Kang and clinched the match for the Bears.

Cal will face Alabama, which emerged as the top seed after winning the 54-hole stroke play competition. The Crimson Tide beat Kent State 3-1.

On the opposite side of the bracket, Oregon eliminated No. 2 seed UCLA 3-2 and Texas blanked Washington 5-0.


Softball: Arioto among 3 finalists for player of year

Cal softball senior pitcher/first baseman Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton) is among three finalists for USA Softball’s Collegiate Player of the Year award.

Also still in the running are Arizona State shortstop Katelyn Boyd and Oklahoma pitcher Keilani Ricketts.

Arioto is third nationally with a .968 slugging percentage, sixth in home runs (22), second in on-base percentage (.641), 11th in earned run average (1.32) and fourth in runs (64). Her 87 walks are 26 more than any other player in the country.

The winner will be announced May 29.


Softball: Bears rebound, cruise into regional final

Top-seeded Cal (52-5) bounced back from a second-round loss to Arkansas and now will face the Razorbacks (29-26) in Sunday’s Berkeley regional final of the NCAA tournament.

The Bears beat Boston University 8-0 in six innings and now must defeat the Razorbacks twice to win the regional title and advance to next week’s Super Regionals. Sunday’s first game is at 5 p.m. at Levine-Fricke Field.

Arkansas beat Cal 3-2 in Sunday’s winners-bracket semifinal.

Jolene Henderson struck out 11 in six innings and allowed just three hits while improving to 32-2.

Cal scored in every inning after the first to methodically pull away from the Terriers (41-16) in the elimination game.

Victoria Jones homered in the second inning while Jamie Reid, Britt Vonk and Val Arioto each had two hits.



Softball: Bears score 8-0 mercy victory

Top-seeded Cal (51-4) routed Iona 8-0 in a five-inning NCAA tournament opener in front of 1,059 fans at Levine-Fricke Field.

The Bears will play Saturday at 3 p.m. against Arkansas (28-26), which beat Boston U 3-2 in the first game.

Cal scored three runs in the first and five in the fifth before the game was stopped. Freshman Breana Kostreba singled and homered and drove in three runs. Frani Echavarria added a pair of hits.

Two-time Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Jolene Henderson (31-2)  allowed two hits in five innings, striking out seven and walking no one.

— BASEBALL: No. 11 UCLA (37-13, 16-9 Pac-12) posted a 7-2 win over the Bears (26-23, 9-16) at Evans Diamond. The loss was Cal’s fourth in its past five games.


Softball: Arioto named Pac-12 pitcher of week

Cal senior Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton) was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week after throwing a complete-game shutout in the top-ranked Bears’ 5-0 title-clinching win over Arizona State last Saturday.

Arioto, 20-2 on the season, struck out 11 and walked just one in the victory that locked up Cal’s first outright conference title since 1987.

Cal opens play in the Berkeley regional of the NCAA tournament on Friday against Iona. First pitch is 7 p.m. at Levine-Fricke Field.