End-of-game Stanford goal dooms Cal in first conference match

Derek Remsburg/File

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With 30 seconds left on the clock in Friday’s home match, it seemed safe to assume that the 1-1 tie between the Cal women’s field hockey team and No. 13 Stanford would be pushed into overtime.

The Cardinal gained possession of the ball for their final attempt at breaking the tie, driving past the Bears’ defense towards the goal and into the circle. Cal goalie Courtney Hendrickson blocked Stanford midfielder Maddie Secco’s initial attempt, but Courtney Haldeman quickly found the ball and tipped it in with only eleven seconds remaining.

The Bears effort to answer Haldeman’s goal produced a shot but fell short of a goal, ending the game in a 2-1 loss.

The noon matchup against Stanford (7-4, 1-0) was the first conference game for the Bears (3-6, 0-2). Cal held most of the possession throughout the game but only shot five times to Stanford’s nine.

“We didn’t get shots or corners,” head coach Shellie Onstead said. “I think we ended up playing with the ball too much between the 25 and the circle, and I think we got to be more decisive and get the ball in the circle.”

This is the fifth loss the Bears have incurred with a one-goal difference.

“When we’ve lost by one goal it’s been really late in the game when we can’t answer,” Onstead said. “That’s something we need to change on the mental end of things.”

The Bears were the first to attack when midfielder and leading scorer Lara Kruggel pushed into the circle. Kruggel’s shot bounced off Stanford goalie Dulcie Davies to forward Jordan O’Reilly, who found the goal in the first eight minutes.

Only three minutes after O’Reilly’s early goal, Stanford responded with its own to tie the game at 1-1. Secco tapped in a rebound off of Cardinal Hope Burke’s shot.

The Bears were not able to capitalize off their early momentum and sputtered as the game progressed.

“I think we just needed the more heart more intensity all 70 minutes of the game because we lacked that,” defender Deanna Kennedy said. “We didn’t play all the way through.”

Cal’s matchup Sunday against Davis (6-6, 2-0) was more of the same lack of intensity and shots. The Bears fell to the Aggies 3-1.

Cal was overpowered early in the game with the Aggies’ two goals in the first half. Davis’ Sophia Lisaius and Megan Reardon got a goal apiece on Hendrickson.

In the second half, the Bears were unable to hold off another goal when Davis’ Marissa Hughes pushed the lead to 3-0 in the second half.

Cal scored late in the game with midfielder Caroline Struijk’s shot off of a corner penalty assisted by Kruggel. The Bears were only able to shoot four times to Davis’ 15.

In a sport that requires an onslaught of shots and opportunities to produce even a few goals, the lack of shots in both the Davis and Stanford games is problematic.

“It’s a game of chances, so you have to create 10 chances to create maybe two goals,” Onstead said. “So that’s what I’m saying about not creating enough opportunity up there.”

Jessica Lim covers field hockey. Contact him at [email protected]