Cal field hockey prepares to face Pacific

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OCTOBER 02, 2014

The Bears are home sweet home. Well, not quite. This Sunday’s 1 p.m. game against Pacific is Cal’s first “home” game in two weeks, but instead of welcoming Pacific to Bear territory, Cal will be trekking to Stockton to play on Pacific’s brand new turf.

While they haven’t played a game on the Cal campus since last season due to current construction on Maxwell Family Field, the Bears’ return to northern California is a welcome change for the Bears after their recent travel schedule — even if they still have to drive 90 minutes to Sunday’s “home” field. But the Bears aren’t phased by their lack of a permanent lair — in fact, they’ve grown accustomed to making themselves right at home no matter where they go.

“It’s kind of neat how all the Bay Area is now home to us, and you kind of have a little tag line ‘hashtag feels like home,’ and every field is a home field to us,” said head coach Shellie Onstead. “I think we’ve successfully got them into this, ‘We can go anywhere and make it feel like home …’ We’re excited to sort of christen that field and try and make it our own.”

After reviewing the charts, graphs and data sets produced by last weekend’s games, it became clear the Bears were gunning the gas with not much left in the tank. Because of that, this week’s prep for Pacific has been focused on recovery. Monday and Tuesday were focused on team meetings and reviewing game tape. Wednesday and Thursday included a bit of action on the field. And the next few days before Sunday’s game? Keeping muscles warm and spirits high.

“You have to have them in the right sort of excitability,” Onstead said. “I wouldn’t say they’re all that effective if they’re super loose, they’re almost too relaxed. So there’s that medium place between too nervous and too relaxed.”

With their last game against Central Michigan resulting in a 5-0 win, Pacific is feeling confident about Sunday’s matchup. But that win happened more than two weeks ago. After coming off a more than 14-day break, Pacific will have to toe the line between overly relaxed and calmly confident. While the Tigers will certainly be well rested, their lack of recent games might contribute to a lackluster start.

Their superstar player, however, is not one to rest on her laurels. Ali Campos — ranked No. 3 in goals per game and No. 7 in points per game in the NCAA — is also a member of the Mexican women’s national team and will provide a considerable threat to the Bears.

That, combined with the fact that Pacific’s coaching staff is very familiar with Onstead’s strategy, provides an extra boost in the Tigers’ self-confidence. Pacific’s head coach Andy Smith is Onstead’s former assistant, and his assistants are her former players. But Cal fans can rest assured that the Bears have an extra trick or two up their sleeves. Onstead made it clear that the Bears haven’t played all their cards quite yet.

“They’re going to feel like they know everything there is to know about us,” Onstead said. “I can tell you, they don’t. I think it’ll be a pretty good battle.”

Contact Jessi McDonald at 


OCTOBER 02, 2014

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