After upsetting two ranked teams to open the season, the Cal field hockey team remained outside of the top-20 in the NFHCA coaches’ poll.
While it was disappointing the Bears didn’t break into the poll last week, it would be shocking if they remain unranked after this weekend’s performance. Again facing two ranked teams, Cal delivered two convincing victories, beating No. 18 Northeastern, 4-2, and No. 19 Indiana, 3-1.
On Friday night, the Bears came out strong in their home opener at Maxwell Field and got off to a 2-0 lead thanks to sophomore forward Andrea Earle’s two goals. Earle squeaked her first score in off the post at the four-minute mark before junior forward Rachelle Comeau gave Earle a nifty cross to the right post for another goal at the 16-minute mark.
Less than a minute later, the Huskies quickly answered back with a goal from junior forward Crystal Poland off of a penalty corner.
The score would remain 2-1 in the Bears’ favor until senior forward Megan Shimojima answered with what Coach Shellie Onstead described as a “world class” goal over the head of Northeastern goalkeeper Lizzie Priest.
Poland would once again cut the lead to one goal for the Huskies, but Shimojima’s late goal at the 67-minute mark ensured the Bears’ victory.
Shimojima’s two goals were her only shots in the game, bringing her tally for the year to six goals to continue the strong play that earned her NorPac Offensive Player of the Week honors last week.
Coach Onstead credited her team’s ability to set each other up with scoring opportunities in the win.
“We had a superb passing game today,” Onstead said. ”I think that was one of the biggest differences in the game.”
After their victory on Friday, the Bears returned to Maxwell field on Sunday, Sept. 11, to face the Hoosiers.
Up until that point, Cal had faced three ranked opponents on the season and defeated each one of them; Indiana would be no different.
Like all four of their previous matches, the Bears’ raced to an early 1-0 lead when sophomore midfielder Shannon Elmitt cleaned up a rebound off of a penalty corner for her first goal of the season.
Indiana tied the game at 1-1 before Cal finished the match with the final two goals for the 3-1 victory. Earle’s sixth goal of the season was the go-ahead goal while Comeau added an insurance goal later in the match.
Senior goalkeeper Maddie Hand had strong day in front of the net, collecting three saves with her only goal allowed coming off of a rebound.
“My concern was whether we could put two solid performances together back-to-back,” Onstead said. “I thought we actually stepped our game up from Friday, so I am very encouraged.”
Perhaps another two victories over ranked opponents will finally propel the Bears into the national spotlight.
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