Cal lose to Wake Forest after missing last-minute penalty

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With one minute left in the game against Wake Forest, Cal field hockey had its last opportunity to push the game into overtime.

After the Demon Deacons illegally kicked the ball during the Bears’ first penalty corner, the Bears were awarded another.

Shannon Elmitt took the penalty corner and passed toward Deanna Kennedy’s waiting stick. Kennedy was positioned in front of the net and ready to receive the oncoming ball, but the ball hit a bump in the field and flew directly over Kennedy’s waiting stick.

After a 2-1 overtime loss to Duke Friday night, the Bears fell 4-3 to Wake Forest (8-9, 1-3) on Sunday afternoon in Winston-Salem, N.C.

“I think in a lot of years this sort of play would have been good enough to win but it wasn’t today,” Coach Shellie Onstead said.

The Bears (5-10, 2-3) began the game with an upper edge in offense. At the third minute, Cal took advantage of its first penalty corner. Captain Laura Spellman took a penalty corner and found Caroline Struijk for the first goal.

The Deacons were finally able to respond at the 18th minute when Jess McFadyen passed to Kari Walkley off a penalty corner. Wake Forest tied the game 1-1 with Walkley’s fifth goal of the season.

Cal regained the lead seven minutes into the second half. Eleven seconds after entering the game as a substitute, Jordan O’Reilly made her fifth goal of the season off of an assist by Lara Kruggel, making the score 2-1.

Just six minutes later at the 48th minute, the momentum shifted when the Deacons made two goals within three minutes and took a 3-2 lead over the Bears.

At the 58th minute, Onstead pulled goalie Courtney Hendrickson out of the game to reinforce her attack with an extra forward in Kendra Bills.

A minute after pulling the goalie, however, Wake Forest was awarded a penalty corner and converted into another goal its fourth goal of the game.

Cal’s luck changed when the Demon Deacons lost two players to green cards. The Bears took advantage of their 11 versus nine advantage when Elmitt made her first goal of the season in the 61st minute, narrowing the score to 4-3.

Despite the two penalty corners in the 68th and 69th minutes, the Bears were unable to push the game into overtime.

“We scored three goals on a very good team, so that’s an improvement for our most recent goal production and those are the things we’re focusing on at this point,” Onstead said.

The Bears, however, are running out of time for improvement. With only two more games in the regular season, Cal is quickly approaching the NorPac Conference tournament.

The Bears can go 5-12 and still advance to the NCAA tournament if they win the NorPac tournament. These next two games, however, are important for rankings and momentum for the upcoming tournament.

“They’re staying focused knowing that it’s just about getting better,” Onstead said. “We’re getting better everyday and trying not to take the win or loss as much as the process, but we fought to the end and that’s going to be important going forward.”

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