The Cal men’s soccer team will host the fifth-annual adidas-Legacy Classic this weekend, as Stanford, Loyola Marymount and CSU Fullerton visit Edwards Stadium.
The Bears earned a split last weekend at the FILA Classic at CSU Fullerton, beating Loyola (Maryland), 4-0, before falling 2-1 to No. 8 Clemson.
Cal starts the 2001 season without their two top scorers from last season, forward Kendall Simmonds and midfielder Ramiro Arredondo. The duo scored nine of Cal’s 20 goals last season, leaving the Bears with limited firepower this year.
Forward Chris Roner is the top returning scorer, having racked up four goals and three assists last year while starting all 20 games. Roner is a solid forward with limited speed. Forward Austin Ripmaster played well at the end of last season, but scored just one goal and must be more productive this season. Ripmaster, a senior, is a tall target on crosses and corner kicks and scored the Bears’ only goal against Clemson last weekend.
Defender Robbie Aylsworth showed a nice scoring touch last year with three goals, and scored in the Bears’ opener this year. Aylsworth has a cannon leg and is a threat coming out of the defense to hit long shots.
Head coach Kevin Grimes has upped the recruiting efforts, and was rewarded last year with 10 freshman. This year, he pulled in 12 new players, so the infusion of talent should help the team’s competitiveness by quantity, if not quality. Freshman Calen Carr has made an immediate impact with a goal and an assist last weekend, and new goalkeeper Josh Saunders has apparently won the starting job over Marco Palmieri, last year’s backup.
The Bears switched conferences last season, joining Oregon State, UCLA, Washington and Stanford in forming the ill-named Pac-10 Soccer. Being a small league, the Pac-10 doesn’t get an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, but three teams were chosen for at-large bids last year (Stanford, UCLA and Washington). That means the Bears have to make the most of their non-league games, so a strong showing this weekend is important to any post-season hopes they may have.