Cal field hockey falls to Drexel at home

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“Here we go! Here we go!” said sophomore Janaye Sakkas in excitement as she left the field. At this point, it was right before halftime and the Cal field hockey game against Drexel was tied 1-1.

The first Drexel goal was scored on a fast break that caught the Bears off guard. Once the forward got past the last defender, she had a completely open shot at junior goalie Kori Griswold.

Around 10 minutes later, Cal was able to convert a penalty corner into a goal for the first time this season. Junior Mara Gutierrez got possession of the ball right when the whistle blew and sent in a cross to Sakkas who was able to tip it in.

Although the energy was high and the Bears (1-5) were anticipating passes throughout the game, they ultimately fell 2-1. This game constitutes Cal’s fifth loss of the season and fourth loss at home. Commonly, we would assume home games provide the home team with an advantage, but after getting used to playing so much on the road, the Bears seem like they’re thrown off by the lack of constant travel.

“We have to relearn how to be a home team,” said Cal head coach Shellie Onstead. “A lot of times it is kind of advantageous to be the visiting team at that time because you are all about the game. You don’t have school or other distractions.”

Cal had great ball possession and movement from the beginning of the game. It was only really a few critical errors that caused its loss, such as getting distracted on defense. This happened a few times — a defender would dive in, and a fast forward would be able to go around straight to the goal.

“I think we got kind of distracted by the fact that we were on attack and you sort of let your guard down,” Onstead said. “We did almost enough to really take care of it, but the couple breakaways and the fact that they could convert on our opportunities made all the difference.”

Though it seems like this game would be considered a step back after Cal got its first win last weekend against Fairfield, statistically speaking the team improved a lot and, despite its loss, continued its upward trend. For example, the Bears logged about 11 circle penetrations in each half, which Onstead says is their season high.

“We are on the right track. I told them prior to the game that I just wanted to see them learn from last weekend and continue to make improvements and they really did,” Onstead said. “It wasn’t good enough to get a win today but I am still saying there is no reason to panic.”

Within the nearly 10 days they have before their next game Sept. 23, the Bears have vowed to work particularly on fast break defense and offense, which could have been important skills to have honed for their face-off against the Dragons.

Lucy Schaefer covers field hockey. Contact her at [email protected]