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Cal field hockey battles with Davis

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MITZI PEREZ | FILE

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OCTOBER 01, 2015

The Bears had already endured 64 minutes of pain. With the score 9-0 in favor of the No. 1 UConn Huskies, the Cal field hockey team was just looking to get off the field, get on a plane and go home.

They weren’t so lucky.

Sprinting downfield, Husky midfielder Olivia Bolles flipped the ball to forward Darby Smith, who paused for just a moment to draw the Bears’ defensive players away from their assignments. With a well-timed pass, Smith slipped the ball to a cutting midfielder Roisin Upton, who buried it behind Cal’s freshman goalie Dakota Churchill — who was only in the game because the starter was being saved for matches that were actually competitive.

The plane ride home had to seem like an eternity for Cal, which just two days prior was celebrating its second consecutive overtime victory against Brown. UConn was always going to be a tough game, but a blowout of that severity certainly put a damper on the Bears’ morale. With their collective tail between their legs, all the team wanted was to find the rejuvenating comfort of home.

They will not be so lucky.

Cal will travel to UC Davis this weekend, where it will square off with the Aggies on Davis soil. The game, however, will be considered “at home” for the Bears. The lack of a true home field at Cal has displaced the field hockey team throughout the season, and it has forced them to occasionally play home games away from Berkeley. In the coming weeks, the Bears will play “home” games against Stanford in Palo Alto, and against UMass-Lowell in Stockton. The situation is casting a shadow on an otherwise successful season — despite the issue, the Bears (6-4) are off to their best start since 2011.

The Aggies in many ways mirror the complexion of the Bears. No real star power, but a collection of skilled cogs in a well-oiled machine. Fourteen players on both rosters have registered at least one point, and the top point-earners at each school — senior midfielder Jamie Garcia for Davis and junior midfielder Sydney Earle for Cal — have both accumulated 12. Therefore, for the Bears to win, it would behoove them to employ strategies that in the past have caused them trouble. The Bears will come out offensively focused, trying to get the Aggies on their heels quickly, as neither team is designed to come from behind. The first squad to realize that may score first, and hold that lead until the final whistle.

The game presents an opportunity for a big statement. The Bears’ field situation is fact. What will be essential for Cal for the remainder of the season, is to succeed despite the holdup. Acknowledging that every game this season will most likely be played in a somewhat hostile environment, the Bears can either wilt under the pressure, or become battle-hardened by the adversity.

Come playoff time, every game is played at a neutral location. If the Bears can come out of Davis with a win, and prove to themselves that the lack of a home field will become a strength and not a weakness, it will go a long way for both their playoff seeding and mindset. It’s time for the Bears to start showing teams whose house they’re really in.

Contact Austin Isaacsohn at 

LAST UPDATED

OCTOBER 01, 2015


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