Rankings don’t always give you a complete picture. The No. 16 Cal women’s field hockey team proved this last Friday, when they played against No. 1 ranked Maryland to a 2-1 loss on Maxwell Family Field.
The last time the two teams faced each other was in 2009, where the Bears were crushed in a 8-0 loss. But, in the recent 2-1 loss against Maryland, Cal has proven that they are a force to be reckoned with.
However, from the onset it looked like Cal would once again be dominated. In the first four minutes of the game, Maryland was able to put down four shots on goal. Freshman goalkeeper Joelle van Hoorn was able to make the first three saves, but the fourth one slipped past her, putting Maryland up 1-0.
“Historically, we’ve had a little bit of trouble,” said coach Shellie Onstead. “It wasn’t until about 10 minutes into the game that I was like ‘Here we go!’ and we really started to go at them.”
The Terrapins’ lead didn’t last long. Despite playing without their star forward Andrea Earle, Cal came into their element. Both teams escalated their defensive pressure, increasing the tempo and speed of the game. In the 28th minute, Cal was able to even the score with a corner shot when sophomore midfielder Lara Kruggel snagged the goal.
“I just put pressure on myself and said ‘I want to score, I need to score,’” said Kruggel. “The corners all went really well, not just mine. I trusted myself and I’m extremely happy with the outcome.”
The teams went into halftime at 1-1, and the Bears seemed to have lost their fervor in the first five minutes of the second half. Right off the bat, Maryland came off with a great start and two minutes in, they put in their second goal of the match.
But, freshman defender, Clara Goñi, rose to the occasion, and combatted any of Maryland’s attempts to widen their winning margin. Goñi’s fitness and attacking game plan continuously shut down Maryland’s goal attempts for the remainder of the secon half.
Cal played a strong second half, and Maryland slowly seemed to unwind, playing a frantic, unorganized game. But, Cal was unable to capitalize on their mistakes and the whistle blew, with Maryland claiming the win by a one-point margin.
“Coming into the game we just wanted to play as well as we could together and we wanted to win” said junior midfielder Shannon Elmitt. “But now I’m thinking, we could easily take this team. And if they’re the champions of last year, I mean you can’t get any better than that. ”
The Bears go on to play unranked St. Louis University this Monday at 1 p.m. on Maxwell Family Field. This current Cal roster has never faced St. Louis, but the unranked team isn’t expected to bring much competition to the home field.
“If they’re willing to build on this, we should be pretty excited about the season ahead,” Onstead said.