It’s one down and two to go for the No. 11 Cal field hockey.
The Bears took the first match of their three game trip to Philadelphia, a 5-2 victory over Saint Joseph’s.
Thursday afternoon’s match exemplified the type of offensive success the Bears (9-2) have found in their victories this season, with a fast start and multiple offensive contributors.
“It was a good overall effort,” coach Shellie Onstead said. “We scored early in each half and we spread the ball around like we should.”
Cal went on attack early in the match, with sophomore forward Andrea Earle scoring on the Bears’ first shot attempt of the game at the 1:57 mark. The goal, assisted by junior forward Lauren Livingston, was Earle’s 11th of the season, adding to her team-high 27 points.
Saint Joseph’s (2-6) didn’t let Cal gain too much early momentum as senior forward Ellen Rowe netted the equalizer ten minutes later.
However, from that point on, the match was all Bears as Cal scored four unanswered goals within the next 25 minutes of play.
“We were able to transition really quickly from defense to offense and catch them off-guard,” senior co-captain Erin Magill said.
Freshman forward Lara Kruggel’s fifth goal of the season, a beautiful diving backhand from inside the circle, regained momentum for the Bears and they never looked back.
The team’s assist leader, defender Deanna Kennedy, scored her first goal of the season off a loose ball in front of the net. Her goal was sandwiched by the third and fourth goals of the season for Lauren Livingston, both assisted by Rachelle Comeau.
The Hawks would muster up one more goal against Cal, but it was too-little too-late as the final whistle blew with the Bears collecting another road victory, their fourth of the season.
“We went out there with a good mentality,” Livingston said. “And we did a good job connecting passes and communicating on the field.”
This season, Cal has showcased a diverse offensive attack, ranking near the top of NCAA Division I Field Hockey in many of the major offensive categories. So far this year, 11 different Bears have scored goals while six of them have accumulated at least 10 points.
“We’re playing a pretty aggressive system of rolling substitutions,” Onstead said. So we’re rotating forwards, getting everybody involved and wearing down the other team.”
This game was no different as four different players scored goals for the Bears. 11 of their 17 players attempted shots, leading to a total of 22 for the game, the second most shots taken by Cal this season.
“We’re all a threat,” Magill said. “We’re never relying on one person to score in the game, which makes it hard for the defense.”
The Bears will stay in Philadelphia Friday for a noon match against Temple on Geasey Field. The Owls have fallen to 3-7 after losing their last three straight matches.
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