On Saturday, the Cal field hockey team was able to overcome a late-game deficit and score the last two goals to cap off 4-3 comeback victory against No. 18 Virginia.
On Monday, the No. 11 Bears didn’t have to come from behind — their offense started right where they had left off.
Within the first three minutes, Cal had scored two quick goals against Kent State in a 5-2 victory on Murphy-Mellis Field in Kent, Ohio.
All season, the Bears (7-1) have gotten off to early leads in every match except one — on Friday against Northwestern, Cal’s only loss of the year. With the defeat fresh in the Bears’ mind, coach Shellie Onstead made sure her team came out on the attack from the opening face-off against Kent State.
“We put a big emphasis on setting the tone early today and the team responded to that really well,” Onstead said. “And obviously we went out and got two quick, high quality goals right away.”
Sophomore forward Andrea Earle started things off with the first of her two goals on the day. Coming off a four-goal freshman campaign, Earle now leads the team with nine goals this year, earning her consecutive titles as NorPac West Offensive Player of the Week.
“The team has been really supportive,” Earle said. “We’ve just been trying to get the ball in the circle and be more aggressive, and we’ve been improving every single game.”
Less than a minute after Earle’s goal, sophomore forward Jordan O’Reilly added her fifth goal of the season, assisted by junior forward Rachelle Comeau.The Bears’ attack didn’t let up as they would add two more goals before the 12-minute mark and eventually take a 5-0 lead five minutes into the second period.
However, from that point on, Cal’s offense slowed as the Golden Flashes (2-6) outshot the Bears 13 to 6 in the second half — likely a result of different strategies and player rotations employed by Onstead in the final frame.
“The lead gave us an opportunity to work on some new things and play some new people which will help us going forward,” Onstead said.
Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Courtney Hendrickson saw her second game action of the season, playing the entire second half after she replaced senior Maddie Hand who had shut out Kent State with four saves in the first half.
The Golden Flashes would score two garbage-time goals late in the game, resulting in the 5-2 final score, Cal’s seventh victory of the season and their second win in a row after the Northwestern loss.
“Anytime, you go on a three game road trip I probably would have been happy with two out of three games,” Onstead said. “I think the team played really well and if it wasn’t for the first 20 minutes at Northwestern, we would have had a good chance at a weekend sweep.”