After playing eight games in the last 16 days, the Cal field hockey team will head into its first off week of the season with their third overtime victory of the season, a 3-2 win over Drexel on Sunday in Philadelphia.
With the game tied 2-2 in overtime, Cal forward Rachelle Comeau put herself in perfect position near the net and when defender Deanna Kennedy delivered a pass right on point, Comeau didn’t hesitate.
Her seventh goal of the season cemented the Bears’ 11th victory of the season and improved their overtime record to 3-0. Earlier in the season, Cal defeated No. 13 Michigan State and No. 18 Virginia in overtime matches.
“I think it’s our mentality going into overtime,” forward Andrea Earle said regarding the team’s success in extra time. “We have full confidence in anyone on the field or on the bench and anyone can make an impact.”
After cruising to victories over Saint Joseph’s on Thursday and Temple on Friday, the Bears found themselves in a much tougher match against Drexel (8-4). Going into the contest, coach Shellie Onstead anticipated that the Dragons, the Bears’ third and final opponent on their four-day roadtrip, would be the toughest for her squad to handle.
“It was an important game and I knew it would be close,” Onstead said. “This team made me the most nervous of the whole trip.”
Uncharacteristically, Cal struggled coming out of the gate, getting only five shots on goal the entire first half and found itself trailing, 1-0, at halftime.
About eight minutes into the second half, Earle, maneuvered her way to the front of the goal and netted her 12th goal of the season, giving the Bears the momentum they needed for a strong second half.
“We were kind of flat in the first half,” Earle said. “But we came back in the second with a lot of fire, had a good press and just communicated really well.”
Less than 10 minutes after Earle’s equalizer, sophomore forward Jordan O’Reilly came off the bench and gave the Bears a one-goal advantage with her eighth goal of the season.
Cal looked to build off its momentum to establish a larger cushion over Drexel, but the Dragons fought back with an onslaught of shot attempts against the Bears’ goalkeeper Maddie Hand.
The run culminated in a goal by senior forward Ashley Santeel, tying the game at 2-2 and forcing overtime.
Like they’ve done all season, the Bears wasted no time in the extra period with Comeau’s goal coming less than two minutes in, allowing Cal to sneak out a win against a competitive Drexel squad.
“I told the team that it would be a really tough match early,” Onstead said, “But there would be a point where our fitness would work to our advantage and that’s exactly what happened.”
After a grueling early season schedule, the Bears will finally have some time off next week. They play the Alumni Game next Saturday at Maxwell Field, but won’t resume their regular season until Oct. 14 against UC Davis.
“I’m very happy with where we are,” Onstead said. “We’re going to take these next two weeks as a mini training stage and work on a few things. It’ll be really nice for the end of the season.”