Bears can’t overcome Lions’ lead in first blowout loss

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For the first time this season, Cal women’s field hockey experienced a blowout loss.

After beginning the weekend with a dominating 2-0 win over Robert Morris on Friday, the Bears (4-7, 1-2) suffered a 6-2 defeat to No. 7 Penn State in State College, Pa.

The only other game the Bears lost by more than one goal was the 3-1 loss to Davis.

In Sunday’s game, the Bears were significantly outshot, 35-13, by the Nittany Lions (11-3, 2-1).

Despite the decisive chasm between shots, the Bears’ tally was nonetheless a significant improvement.

In last weekend’s games against Stanford and Davis, the Bears only notched five and four shots, respectively. This miscue forced Onstead to focus on the offense for this weekend’s games.

“I was proud of the way that we kept battling and putting on the pressure,” coach Shellie Onstead said.

Such pressure might have been the result of a radical offensive rearrangement. Two key defenders, captain Laura Spellman and Deanna Kennedy, switched to offense this weekend as part of a rearranged line.

However, the switch failed to provide defensive coverage for van Hoorn, who gave up six goals.

The opening goal came within the first six minutes of the game. Penn State’s Jenna Chrismer got a rebound after two attempted goals and shot it into the net, making the score 1-0.

The Lions quickly doubled the lead three minutes later when Ashtin Klingler sent another ball to the back of the net.

And the home team didn’t let up.

Kelsey Amy, leading scorer for the Lions, gave Penn State a 3-0 lead. Within the first two minutes of the second period, Nittany Lion Taylor Herold scored an early goal.

But halfway through the second period, the Bears had a slight shift in momentum with forward Lara Kruggel’s ninth goal of the season, breaking the Nittany Lions’ 5-0 lead.

Kennedy found Kruggel on Cal’s third consecutive penalty corner. Kruggel shot the ball from the top of the circle, and the ball was deflected off Penn State goalie Ayla Halus into the net.

This spurred the Bears to produce more chances and penalty corners. Cal improved its number of shots from the first period by taking ten in the second period.

This shift, however, was not enough to overcome the Nittany Lions.

The Nittany Lions responded with Chrismer’s second goal of the game to regain a five-point lead.

At a 6-1 disadvantage, the Bears were again able to convert a penalty corner when Kruggel pitched the ball to forward Lauren Livingston and cut Penn State’s lead to 6-2.

The Bears fared better in the earlier weekend match Friday against Robert Morris. The Bears’ new offensive strategy came into play against the Colonials, with 29 shots to Robert Morris’ three.

However, the Bears will need to perfect the offensive strategy to duplicate results such as Friday’s win in more marquee matchups.

“We’re going to make sure that we’re trying to bring that type of pace to practice, so we’re playing at a high speed and learning how to manage that,” Onstead said.

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