Another road trip, another pair of wins for the Cal field hockey team. The Bears improved to 6-3 overall after snagging two victories this weekend at the Quinnipiac Bobcat Invitational. The Bears faced Fairfield and Quinnipiac in Hamden, Connecticut and now boast a five-game win streak.
The Bears have taken two road trips so far this season and have managed to return victorious. On their four games on the road, they have a perfect record and have outscored their opponents 16-4. Clearly, the Bears are more than comfortable playing on the road. If there’s one thing this team is good at, it’s going into enemy territories and conquering their opponents.
“I am happy with the fact that they managed to play well,” said Cal head coach Shellie Onstead. “They played two in a row — on some trips we have a day off in between but on this trip it was just back to back. We did this on purpose because that will happen in the conference tournament and the tournament is located on the East Coast this year so all of this is part of our plan to be in the best possible shape come conference tournament.”
The Bears’ offensive unit as a whole has shown marked improvement from last year, scoring 26 goals in nine games. Particularly impressive were the goals from this weekend’s road trip, which came off the sticks of sophomores Katrina Carter, Gabi Jimenez, freshman Megan Rodgers and junior Janaye Sakkas. Rodgers, who has continuously made headlines this season, increased her goal count to 10 after this weekend, while Carter, Jimenez and Sakkas increased their goal count to to four, three and two, respectively. Although the team has had its share of games with positive outcomes and negative outcomes, one thing is certain: this team has chemistry.
At Fairfield, the Bears struck first with a goal from Rodgers in the 20th minute. After a successful corner, the Stags had it all tied up 1-1. The Bears ultimately cut Fairfield’s celebration short after a goal from Jimenez in the 53rd minute and put the Bears back up. Soon after, Rodgers extended the lead with a clean shot in the 59th minute.
“The first game against Fairfield we were a little bit uninspired,” Onstead said. “I challenged them to have a better overall approach to the game and a better game on Sunday even though they would be tired with only 24 hours of recovery.”
In their next match against Quinnipiac, the Bobcats were first to strike with a shifty goal in the ninth minute to start the game. The Bears, while arriving a little late to the game, found their offensive groove with a triplet of unanswered goals from Carter, Sakkas and Rodgers. Five minutes before the match was set to end, Quinnipiac junior Anna Walmsley scored a goal that tightened the game but ultimately, the Bears defense was able to shut down the Bobcat’s late comeback efforts.
“Overall, the game on Sunday was far better than the one on Saturday,” Onstead said. “From a coaching standpoint, we’re pretty happy with that. They didn’t panic and they trusted in the game plan. You get the sense that you get one and sorta open the door and get moving. I was really happy with the offense at the end of that second half at the end of a long weekend it was great.”
Jesus Aceves covers field hockey. Contact him at [email protected]