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Cal field hockey falls to Duke, Wake Forest

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SEPTEMBER 28, 2014

Things got off to a rough start for Cal’s field hockey team this weekend, and while the Bears were able to get their heads back in the game for the second half of Friday’s Duke matchup, it wasn’t quite enough to have an impact on the No. 5 Blue Devils. Duke came away with a 2-0 victory, and No. 16 Wake Forest followed suit, winning Sunday’s game 2-1.

The weekend provided Cal’s first scoreless game — somewhat surprising for a team that has had recent success on offense. Seniors Lara Kruggel and Andrea Earle have scored multiple points in the past four games, and Paula Seibt’s multigoal weekend Sept. 19 and 20 resulted in NorPac Freshman of the Week honors.

But just 1:36 into Friday’s matchup, Duke forward Heather Morris was able to get a shot past Bears goalkeeper Courtney Hendrickson, and Jessica Buttinger added one to the scoreboard late in the first half for a decisive Blue Devils victory.

The Bears’ dissatisfaction with their first-half play was evident in Cal head coach Shellie Onstead’s remarks after the game.

“We played our worst half of the year in the first half,” Onstead told Cal Athletics. “We didn’t play anywhere near our capabilities in the first half, and it put us in a hole.”

Right now, Cal is a very young team — with seven freshmen, two redshirt freshmen, four sophomores and three redshirt sophomores, the Bears have a total of 15 underclassmen on a 22-player roster. So it’s almost inevitable that when facing a top-five opponent, they will feel a bit of extra pressure. And while the team’s three seniors — including two redshirt seniors — may be more experienced in separating that stress from their play, this proved to be more difficult than expected for the rest of the young team.

“I think they were just nervous first half,” Onstead said. “I think it was just, yeah just nerves. By halftime, they figured out it was no big deal. We made a couple of adjustments, and we came back that much more aggressively. We were very tentative in the first half.”

After regrouping at the half, the Bears were able to amp up their play, but Duke’s stoic defense would prove to be too tough to break through, as Cal ended the game with multiple shots but zero goals.

Sunday’s Wake Forest game did nothing to improve the Bears’ spirits. The Bears came out with a much stronger start, evidenced by Andrea Earle’s goal four minutes in — what ended up being the Bears’ only goal of the game. And while Cal was the first the first team to score, Wake Forest’s follow-up play was too much to handle for a team who had already been through the ringer. The Demon Deacon’s second goal — scored by Krysta Wangerin at just past the 45-minute mark — was the final blow to an already-struggling Bears team.

While this weekend’s games will probably be games the team wants to forget, Onstead will make sure to remind them.

“You have to build on the things you did well and make sure you address the things you didn’t do well at practice this week,” Onstead said. “It is a week-by-week adjustment, and it is important not to forget to remind them.”

Contact Jessi McDonald at 

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SEPTEMBER 28, 2014


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