Congratulations to the Cal Goalball team which took home the gold medal at the annual PSU Goalball Tournament, held at Portland State University (PSU) from March 10 to 12. After practicing and playing together for three years, the Cal team used this consistency to turn in a stellar defensive performance – only allowing 9 goals over 4 games – while scoring 28 goals themselves. This marked their first gold medal performance in tournament play.
The Cal team was seeded in a particularly challenging pool with PSU – featuring a player from the USA Women’s Goalball Team – and Simon Fraser University, a university located in British Columbia, which included a top player from the competitive British Columbia recreational league. The first game of the tournament saw Cal facing rival PSU, the first two universities to start a collegiate goalball program. The teams have played several times before in the Bay Area and Portland, with Cal only ever having lost or tied to PSU. Cal was up 6-2 at the half, with Junior Will Slason commanding the offense and defense from the center position. The Bears continued the attack on PSU during the second half, scoring another 6 goals to beat PSU 12-3.
In Cal’s second and final game during pool play, against Simon Fraser, the players came out with lockdown defense and gradually scored goals throughout the game. With a 7-2 victory, the Bears took 1st in their bracket.
The top two teams from pool play, Cal and Rose City, faced off in the semi-finals. Rose City, a team comprised of experienced community members from the Portland area, gave Cal their closest match, ending with the Bears winning 5-3.
The championship game against Simon Fraser, who Cal beat in pool play, proved to be quite a challenge. The Bears went down 0-1 early, but managed to tie he game just before halftime. During the second half, Slason scored on a penalty shot, and again immediately after the penalty, when he edged a goal past the center defender, putting the Bears up 3-1. The rest of the half both teams successfully defended their goals. In the last second before the buzzer, Slason bounced the ball past the defenders to finish off the tournament with a 4-1 win.
Most of the goals were scored by Junior Will Slason, who also valiantly defended from the center, also fielding most of the opponents’ attempts. Graduate Student Jessica Adams was the second top scorer and didn’t allow a single goal scored against. Junior Tiffany Zhao scored a goal and only let in one. Both Zhao and Julie Cabrera were pivotal in their consistent throws to target defenders.
Portland State University (PSU): 12-3
Simon Fraser University, BC: 7-2
Rose City: 5-3
Simon Fraser University, BC: 4-1
The Cal Goalball team is part of Recreational Sports’ Inclusive Recreation program, designed to support and advance sports and recreation for the over 3,000 members of the Cal community with disabilities. In addition to goalball, the Inclusive Recreation program offers CalSTAR Yoga – a yoga class designed for people with limited mobility – as well as dedicated personal training services for users with disabilities as part of their No Limits program. For more details, please visit the Inclusive Recreation webpage.