Bears thrash Tigers in NorPac opener

If anyone was worried about a letdown after two upset victories the previous week, the Cal field hockey team answered back emphatically. The squad’s 10-0 victory over Pacific was the most goals the Bears have posted since they blanked Appalachian State, 11-0, six years ago.

Right from the start, Cal (3-0, 1-0 in the NorPac) dominated the game at Brookside Field in Stockton, Calif. And between the 43rd and 52nd minutes of regulation, the Bears had an onslaught of five goals.

Senior forward Megan Shimojima started things off for Cal with a goal at the 10-minute mark with an assist by junior midfielder Kendra Bills. Shimojima would score two more times in that half and finished the game with four goals. Her performance earned her NorPac West Offensive Player of the Week honors, giving the Bears two winners in the first two weeks of the season.

“This result was really a combination of us really being primed to play and feeding off each other,” Cal coach Shellie Onstead said. “It was a team effort. It is really nice to see the scoring evenly distributed and makes me very excited about the future.”

The Bears’ starters received plenty of help, as three of the five Cal goal scorers came off the bench, including Shimojima. Freshman forward Lara Kruggel showcased her potential with a two-goal, four-assist performance while sophomore forward Jordan O’Reilly — coming off a two-goal performance and Co-Player of the Week honors against Michigan State — continued her impressive play with another two goals and added one assist.

This week’s win showed that the Bears have the ability to maintain a high level of performance from start to finish. In last week’s match against No. 13 Michigan State, Cal jumped out to an early 3-0 lead before allowing the Spartans to climb back and tie the game at 3-3. The Bears were eventually able to squeeze out a win in overtime, but the team’s second half performance did not sit well with Onstead.

“One of the concepts we wanted to focus on this weekend was not having a let down like at the end of Michigan State,” Onstead said. “We stayed focus and shared the load and the result was a pretty good production rate.”

The Bears lopsided victory over Pacific (0-2) was led by the team’s ability to control the ball for the majority of the game. Cal outshot the Tigers by an astounding margin, 29-3, and had 19 more shots on goal. Pacific did not get a single shot on goal in the entire second half.

Cal’s margin of victory allowed Onstead to try a few things in preparation for the future, including giving redshirt freshman goalkeeper Courtney Hendrickson, who played the entire second half, her first taste of game action. The person Hendrickson will likely succeed next season, senior Maddie Hand, shut out the Tigers in the first half and finished with two saves.