The Cal field hockey team could not have asked for a better start to its season. The Bears defeated No. 13 Michigan State, 4-3, in Louisville, KY, on Sunday afternoon. The thrilling overtime victory came a mere 24 hours after beating No. 16 Louisville in a slightly more convincing, 3-1, match.
In Cal’s season opener against Louisville, sophomore forward Andrea Earle powered the Bears’ offense with an early goal in the ninth minute of regulation and an insurance goal late in the game to increase the lead to two.
Senior forward Erin Magill broke a 1-1 tie in the 39th minute with an impressive goal off of a penalty corner. Senior goalkeeper Maddie Hand played the entire match, racking up five saves while allowing only one goal.
Coach Shellie Onstead credited her team’s ability to get off to a fast start and convert their penalty corners in the victory.
“(We) took advantage of our corner opportunities, which was great,” Onstead told CalBears.com. “And it was also great to start off the game with a field goal.”
Coming off an impressive win against a tough opponent, the Bears had to quickly regroup for their match against Michigan State the next day. Fortunately for Cal (2-0), the heat and fatigue seemed to wear off just in time.
The squad once again got off to a quick start, leading 3-0 by the 39th minute.
Sophomore Jordon O’Reilly struck first with a goal 20 minutes into the first half, set up by freshman Laura Kruggel’s feed to the left post.Late in the first half, junior Rachelle Comeau put the Bears up 2-0, turning chaos near the Spartan net into a goal.
Cal came out of the second half with another quick goal by Jordan O’Reilly, her second of the game.
Up until the 50-minute mark, the Bears had dominated both sides of the ball with senior goalkeeper Maddie Hand doing her part in front of the net. However, the Spartans made a furious rally — scoring three times in under six minutes — to tie the game up at 3-3 with 14 minutes left in regulation.
Cal once again locked down on defense, holding Michigan State without a shot attempt for the rest of regulation.
In overtime, the Bears took advantage of a penalty corner and Erin Magill was able to score the decisive goal seven minutes in.
Onstead was likewise pleased with how her team was able to go into a tough road environment and come out with a win.
“At the start of the second half, Michigan State started to pressure, and we responded by scoring our third goal,” the 17th-year coach said.
“Up to that point, it was the perfect match. Then the long weekend and the heat seemed to catch up with us, and we got a little complacent. But we were able to come out with the win, and we learned a good lesson.”
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