The Cal field hockey team made the most of its displaced Homecoming Weekend and took down UC Davis in yet another home game away from Berkeley. The Bears walked off the field at Davis this weekend with a 1-0 win, improving their overall record to 7-4 and their interdivision record to a perfect 2-0. After pulling out the close victory, the Bears now find themselves firmly atop the America East West division with the fast-approaching playoffs beckoning.
Calling this win a nail-biter is an understatement. Without the numerous acrobatic saves by redshirt sophomore goalie Kori Griswold — which earned her a second AE Defensive Player of the Week award in less than a month — Cal would’ve found itself on the business end of yet another blowout loss. Both teams looked rusty at the onset, and lackluster performances across the board led to the matchup remaining a silent 0-0 standoff heading into the halftime break, neither team able to muster any noticeable offense through the first 35 minutes. In the first period, Cal registered just two shots on goal, while Davis managed only one.
The game found added intensity and energy on offense after halftime. The Aggies attacked first, bombarding the Bears’ defense and using both brute force and finesse play-calling to get into the circle and attack the net. Cal, however, locked them down, as Griswold made three goal-saving stops against the Aggies’ aggressive offense. After turning attention to their own assault, the Bears tallied four of their six corners on the day within three minutes but were also held in check by the Davis defense.
The only score of the match was an unassisted goal in the 56th minute that involved Cal freshman forward Melina Moore poking in a rebound that completely hoodwinked everyone on the field, especially the Davis goalie.
The Aggies sold out offensively to end the game and had their goalie leave the cage and add to the attack — but to no avail. The Bears watched the clock hit zero and celebrated their seventh victory of the season. This was the division rivals’ first of two soirees this year, with the second scheduled for the final day of the regular season. The win was Cal’s fifth consecutive by a single point and the team’s first shutout of the year.
The team is thus far undefeated in overtime games and is without question building cohesion and finding identify with each and every contest. The proof of this development lies in the Bears’ ability to bounce back from losses — especially the 10-0 ransacking at the hands of UConn last weekend. Every loss suffered this year by Cal has been subsequently followed by a winning streak of at least two games, and with matches against UMass-Lowell and Pacific on the horizon — teams with a combined conference record of 1-3 — the streak should continue.
With the playoffs looming, the Bears need to maintain their upward trend and avoid the pesky losses to less competitive teams that, in the past, have hindered them. If Cal can continue to play its best hockey at the right time of the year, there’s really no telling what the future holds. If viewers can make the long drive to see the Bears’ “home” games, they may just be watching a future conference champion stressfully eke out win after win.
Austin Isaacsohn covers field hockey. Contact him at [email protected].