Feeding off the cheers of the many family members in the stands for Parents Weekend, the Cal field hockey team blasted past UC Davis (3-8), 5-1, getting its first home field win of the season.
In this game, the Bears (3-6) exhibited immense improvement in terms of offensive pressure and energy. In fact, there were eight different players involved in goal-scoring plays.
Five minutes into the game, sophomore captain Janaye Sakkas tipped a ball into the Aggies net off a rebound for her fifth goal of the season. The crowd did not even have a chance to cool down before senior Nicole Henriksson received a pass from freshman Femke Delissen in the eighth minute and was able to knock it in.
“We worked a lot on midfield possession this week, and I did put the attacking midfielders to task at practice and they responded really well,” said Cal head coach Shellie Onstead. “I am really happy that the possession improved and that everybody stepped up.”
Junior Mara Gutierrez scored a goal off of sophomore Melina Moore’s penalty corner insertion in the 26th minute. About five minutes later, Cal converted on another corner when the ball went from redshirt sophomore Katrina Carter to sophomore Keats Iwanaga and finally senior Jamie Stankiewiz, who completed the goal.
At the beginning of the season, the Bears struggled to take advantage of their penalty corner opportunities. But these goals, combined with one from the Drexel game, constitute three penalty corner scores.
Coming into the second half with a 4-0 lead, Cal mainly focused on possession. The team tired out the Aggies by continuously switching the field back and forth. At the same time, the effects of the heat wore down the Bears, and for a period of about 15 minutes in the second half, the ball spent a lot of time near the Cal goal.
The magnitude of the lead allowed the Bears to play some players who usually don’t get a ton of minutes on the field, such as freshman Sterre Van Ede.
While it looked like Cal was just trying to hold on to its 4-0 lead, a UC Davis score off a penalty corner by Eden Borsack reactivated the Bears’ energy.
Cal was scoreless as it passed the ball around until the very last play of the game — a penalty corner as time ran out, which turned into a Cal penalty stroke. The whole sideline was silent for the first time during the game as Iwanaga lined up at the stroke mark, staring the goalie in the eyes. With a swift hit, Iwanaga further reinforced the Bears’ domination at 5-1.
“At least the forwards, and the whole team, decided to come out with the same goals and the same strength and power that came in Wake Forest,” Henrickson said. “It feels great to be back at home and get a win on the board. I think we are just building on our past success.”
Lucy Schaefer covers field hockey. Contact her at [email protected]