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Cal field hockey comes up just short against No. 18 Stanford

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OCTOBER 10, 2016

The entire Cal field hockey team (3-7) lined up on the field, holding hands. It, as well as the whole crowd, was absolutely silent as sophomore captain Janaye Sakkas lined up to take the first penalty stroke of the shootout. She had eight seconds to get the ball from the top of the semicircle into the net.

As time started, she neared the goal but was unable to finish the shot. No. 18 Stanford (5-4) players dogpiled on the field to celebrate its win a few tense seconds later.

On Friday evening, the Bears faced off against the rival Cardinal in a home game at Underhill. Cal went into the game with unprecedented positive energy, coming off its 5-1 defeat of UC Davis last Sunday.

The newfound confidence allowed the Bears to get on the board first as sophomore Melina Moore, with an assist by senior Lexi Collins, scored off a penalty corner.

Cal managed to get up 2-0 when Sakkas converted another corner, hitting the ball in off a rebound.

Although they were up by two goals, the team did not, at any point, let its energy fall. The Bears were visibly eager to get to every ball and did a good job anticipating and picking off Stanford passes.

On the last play of the second half, Stanford was able to capitalize on a corner of their own, bringing the score to 2-1. The Cardinal tied the game up in the 59th minute, which caused a bit of a defensive panic towards the end of the second half.

Unable to score another goal during regulation, the Bears went into the first golden goal overtime period. But after neither team scored following 15 minutes of six-on-six play, the Bears and Cardinals moved on to second overtime. At this point, both teams were clearly exhausted — the battle was not so much skill related as it was a battle of fitness.

After the horn marked the end of the second overtime period, there was only one step left to determine the winner of the game: shootout.

Ultimately, the Bears were unable to match Stanford penalty stroke for penalty stroke and lost the game 3-2.

“Overtime is a battle of moving when you don’t have the ball and fighting through the periods when you are exhausted,” said Cal head coach Shellie Onstead. “I think it showed us that we are pretty tough. I was really proud of our resolve.”

Cal has been working recently on midfield ball movement and offensive press, which definitely showed in its play, but the biggest game contributions were made by the defense, which continually warded off the dangerous Cardinal goal attempts. In fact, in total, Stanford logged 24 shots, while the Bears only had five throughout the whole game. The game went past double overtime, however, and continued to shootout, a lot due to the gritty work of junior goalie Kori Griswold.

“In the end, working off the ball, just getting it and giving it is what is going to make us succeed in overtime,” Sakkas said. “The fact that everyone is willing to make that run back, even to the last minute, just shows how willing we are to work for each other. Despite the outcome, we are not ashamed of this game.”

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

OCTOBER 10, 2016

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