This weekend the Cal field hockey team took promising steps forward at the Terrapin Invitational following its season-opening three-game losing streak. The Bears were able to end their two-game long scoring drought Saturday, as well as log their first win of the season against Fairfield on Sunday.
After flying to Maryland, Cal played its first game of the tournament against the hosts themselves, the No. 7 Terrapins, falling 5-1. Although this score seems like it would reflect a pretty lopsided game, the Bears were successful in making adjustments at halftime, especially after giving up three goals in the first 35 minutes.
At the half, head coach Shellie Onstead focused on the need to have tighter man-to-man coverage, a theme that the team has been struggling with so far this season. They used the half-court press tactic, which forces the opposing team to occupy a smaller area of the field, creating open space for breakaways when the opposing team loses possession. Since this method requires high energy, the Bears made many substitutions and were often forced to move players to different positions.
Barely a minute into the second half, sophomore Melina Moore put away a loose ball in front of the goal bringing the score to 3-1. Shortly thereafter, however, the Terrapins answered with two goals and the score stayed at 5-1 until time ran out.
The following day, Cal matched up against Fairfield, who fell to American on Saturday. The Bears were able to come away with a 3-1 victory over the Stags.
The fact that three different players scored each goal goes to show that the team was really working together to move the ball to everyone.
In the 18th minute of play, Moore, who was again positioned in front of the goal, was able to tip the ball in for Cal’s first score of the day.
About two minutes later, redshirt sophomore Katrina Carter, assisted by senior Monica Marrazzo, received a ball to the near post and lifted it over the goalie, earning Carter her first collegiate goal. The team’s final goal was scored by sophomore Janaye Sakkas, who capitalized on a loose ball in the 37th minute of play.
Fairfield was scoreless against the Bears until almost the very last minute of the game, which was a testament to the Bears’ hard work on defense and success with ball control. And as always, junior goalie Kori Griswold made crucial saves in both games that kept the score as low as it was; against Maryland and Fairfield she recorded season highs of eight saves.
Although they went 1-1 over the weekend, the invitational was just what Cal needed to gain — a renewed sense of enthusiasm about its upcoming games. With a wider breadth of players scoring goals and more women gaining experience in different positions, the Bears need to bring this on-the-road experience back to their home field in the coming weeks.
Lucy Schaefer covers field hockey. Contact her at [email protected]