With little more than a week in between matches, the Cal field hockey team will have the chance to redeem itself against the University of the Pacific, to whom it lost 3-1 last Friday. In another double-conference game weekend, the Bears will first face UC Davis on Friday before Pacific on Sunday.
Overall, Cal (4-10) is looking to log at least one more conference win before going into the America East Championships next month and wants to give Pacific (13-4) a better showing than its first matchup.
Earlier this season, Cal managed to beat UC Davis (4-12) by a huge margin, winning 5-1 on the Underhill turf. In that game, five different Bears scored goals and even more were involved in the goal-scoring plays. This Friday, Cal will make the trip out to Davis, California, to play on the Aggie home field.
“We need to not take them lightly, they are a very good team,” said Cal head coach Shellie Onstead. “They are going to be gunning for a good win before they go into the tournament just like everyone else.”
Recently, the Bears have had a hard time getting into an offensive rhythm. In order to seal a win against the Aggies, Cal will need to galvanize its offense and get a lot of players involved when the ball is in the top 25 yards.
“Going there is going to be a real challenge. There is a little bit more emotional charge to it,” Onstead said. “We were in a similar situation last year and they beat us with no time left on the clock.”
Their next game will be very different for the Bears, as Pacific has enjoyed much more success this season than the Aggies. The Tigers’ win against Cal last weekend improved their record to 12-4, even though they are still not nationally ranked.
The Bears will have to improve their energy from last week, where they played good hockey for the majority of the game but could not consistently possess the ball in the match’s crucial moments. Cal will also have to pay special attention to Pacific forward Marguerite van Wyk, who recorded two goals in the last matchup and also leads in the team in shots.
The crowd presence at Underhill will be essential Sunday, as the home fans try to energize their team for the whole 70 minutes.
“Everybody is excited about that (Pacific game). The final home game. The senior game,” Onstead said. “It is nice to have them at home for the last game.”
With another full weekend on the horizon, the Bears’ top priority for this training week is to relax.
“We are going to get some rest to some players that need rest, and then hopefully when that happens we will be able to have a really great go at Pacific on Sunday,” Onstead said.
This weekend constitutes Cal’s final chance to improve its 1-3 conference record in order to have a better standing for the America East Championships starting in November.
Lucy Schaefer covers field hockey. Contact her at [email protected]