In a shutout over Davis, the Cal field hockey team only needed one attack and one minute to get the first goal of the game.
On Cal’s first possession, senior Rachelle Comeau passed the ball to fellow forward Claire Dougherty from the right side. Aggies goalie Danielle Herrington was out of the goal to defend Comeau, so Dougherty was able to sneak the ball past Herrington to give the Bears an early 1-0 lead only 63 seconds into the tilt.
Cal (6-11, 2-4) went on to conclude its season with a 6-0 rout over Davis (7-11, 3-3) in the Friday night game at Maxwell Family Field.
In the matchup, the Bears held an uncontested lead from the beginning. Cal’s lead gave the offense the necessary confidence to play an aggressive game.
“We played with a little more freedom,” coach Shellie Onstead said. “I think immediately when we got the early goal, we just kinda took a deep breath.”
After this initial goal, the game showcased a sloppy and scattered Davis defense that could not hold against Cal and an offense that could not keep possession of the ball. The Bears grabbed the momentum and did not let go.
Cal doubled its lead at the 23rd minute with Jordan O’Reilly’s goal from another assist by Comeau, carrying a 2-0 lead at the end of the first half.
Confident in its early edge, Cal pulled away from Davis even more in the second half with little opposition. The Aggies had only one shot on goal in the first 50 minutes.
In the 45th minute, Dougherty added another goal to the Bears’ lead with a converted penalty to make the score 3-0. Cal again added another five minutes later with a goal from senior Kendra Bills, increasing the lead to 4-0.
In the 61st minute, Comeau added her own goal to the game with a shot from the right side off another assist by Kruggel.
Seven minutes later, Caroline Struijk took the ball past two defenders to Spellman. With no defenders around, Davis’ Herrington stepped out of the goal to Spellman, who passed over Herrington’s stick to Comeau, who found the back of the net for the final score of 6-0.
This team-oriented strategy of passing and strong communication was characteristic of the blowout victory against Davis.
“We finally started making better decisions inside the 25 for our scoring opportunities,”Onstead said. “Instead of just giving the ball away or choosing to go in when we should be going out and around — these sorts of things that give us better opportunities they did a much better job with tonight.”
Even with two key offensive players in Shannon Elmitt and Lauren Livingston out, the Bears were finally able to piece together a strong defense with an improved offense.
In the strong offensive performance, the Bears outshot the Aggies 14 to eight, which is a drastic improvement from the four shots the Bears had in their last game with Davis. Cal outmatched Davis in creating scoring opportunities, a problem that the Bears have had all season.
“Today was one of the best games that we’ve played all season,” Comeau said.
Jessica Lim covers field hockey. Contact her at [email protected]