This weekend, the Bears will be packing their bags and making a trip to Hamden, Connecticut, for a double header, where they will face off against Fairfield (2-5) on Saturday and Quinnipiac (2-6) on Sunday.
The last time the Bears were on the road, they defeated both Bryant and Northeastern, earning their first shutout of the season against the Bulldogs. Now, the Bears will face two nonconference teams with their three-game winning streak on the line.
“A streak of three is barely a streak in my mind, so I’m not too concerned about it, and even if it was longer, that would be just fine,” said Cal head coach Shellie Onstead. “You start building on success now, we’ve been a program that’s been kind of climbing in the last few years and been dealing with a lot of difficulties on and off the field, and now we’ve got some real building blocks to work with, and that’s fantastic.”
Teams usually face many challenges when they travel, including weather, altitude and perhaps a time change, depending on the distance. Cal’s next six games are scheduled away from Underhill Stadium in Berkeley, and it’s fair to wonder if this will have any effect on the team. The Bears have only had one weekend road trip so far this season, in which they proved they could still grind it out and come home with a pair of victories.
“Well, if there’s one benefit of us being displaced the last two years without a field, (it’s) that we’re pretty good on the road so we don’t have to worry, we just make each field our own,” Onstead said. “The thing with long trips like that is that you have to deal with the time change and food and sleep and you need to be able to manage. It is difficult, but I think we are pretty good at it.”
The Bears have been able to consistently have a high number of shots in their games, averaging 16 shots and 2.86 goals per game. Fairfield and Quinnipiac have given other teams a great deal of opportunities to shoot on them, allowing 18.9 shots per game and 14.8 shots per game, respectively.
Cal has also been very stingy with the amount of goals allowed on it this season, restricting opponents to 9.9 shots per game, and perhaps it may be able to continue doing so this upcoming week. The team must focus on continuing to play the way it has been while also making adjustments on both sides of the ball in order to capture two wins this weekend.
“We kinda tuned up the basic skills of the attack and the defense this week,” Onstead said. “Then we worked on our seven-on-seven work because that’s the OT in hockey, the game goes to seven on each side. Were trying to get work done on all phases of the game and make sure we’re tuning up all different parts. I want to make sure we’re prepared for an overtime if it happens.”
Jesus Aceves covers field hockey. Contact him at [email protected]