Cal field hockey suffers 2 more conference losses

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Zainab Ali/File

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The Cal field hockey team has had an experimental few weekends trying to create solutions that mitigate its goalie injury issues. While the Bears have been creative, they have not necessarily been successful.

Cal (4-10) had a tough weekend, taking two losses in conference play against the University of the Pacific (13-4) on Friday and No. 18 Stanford (9-5) on Sunday.

“In the Friday loss, we played pretty well and just made a couple minor mistakes. It was just a little more physical and emotionally draining that loss,” said Cal head coach Shellie Onstead. “(Sunday), we played probably 60 percent of pretty good hockey but couldn’t lift it when we needed it to kind of step up and control the game.”

In the first half of Friday’s game, Pacific scored one goal and posted another part way through the second half. About minute 60, Cal was down 2-0 and decided to pull its goalie for the remainder of the game to get an offensive edge. Seconds later, however, Pacific’s Marguerite van Wyk, who leads the team in shots, was able to capitalize on the empty net, scoring her second goal of the game and stretching the Pacific lead to 3-0.

Sophomore Melina Moore finally answered for the Bears in the 68th minute, following the rebound on a blocked shot to score before Pacific goalie Laura Pujade could get back into place. Unable to close the gap, the Bears faced a 3-1 loss to the Tigers.

Overall, the Bears actually amassed more shots than the Tigers, shooting 13 against Pacific’s 11. Though Cal outshot Pacific, the Bears were unable to continue this trend into their Sunday game against the Cardinal. Stanford logged 15 shots to Cal’s six and won the game 2-0. This constitutes the first time that Stanford has swept the Bears in the two-game conference series since 2002.

The Cal defense was kept on its toes for the first half but managed to keep the game scoreless going into halftime. Junior Mara Gutierrez was the only player to record a Cal shot in the first 35 minutes. Both she and freshman Lindsay Mathison both had two shots on goal by the end of the game.

Going into the second half, the Bears still managed to fend off the Cardinal’s strong offensive advances until Stanford’s Katie Keyser broke the stalemate in the 59th minute. With about 10 minutes left in regulation, Onstead again pulled the goalie. With the Bears’ net unguarded, Stanford managed to score another goal, ending the game with a 2-0 win.

This game was tough for Cal because it still had strong emotions toward its last matchup against Stanford, which resulted in a nail-biting shootout loss for the Bears.

Because of her recent concussion, junior goalkeeper Kori Griswold did not make an appearance this weekend. To take her place on the roster, sophomore Dakota Churchill, who played for the team last year but left to focus on academics, was invited to fill in for the goalies as freshman backup Danielle Mentink was also still injured. She made two saves Friday and recorded a collegiate career high of eight saves Sunday.

With rematches against UC Davis and Pacific yet to be played, Cal still has a chance to improve its 1-3 conference record in order to have a better standing for the America East Championships next month.

“The good news is that we are playing pretty complete games,” Onstead said. “I still feel like we are getting all the pieces in place to have a good finish to the season. We just have to get consistent.”

Lucy Schaefer covers field hockey. Contact her at [email protected]