Cal field hockey prepares for struggling UC Davis

Lianne Frick/File

The Bears field hockey team (6-3) should be able to clinch an easy win this Friday when they face off against fellow American East Conference member UC Davis (1-7). This will be Cal’s third consecutive road game, and it will continue to travel for the next few matchups in the coming weeks. But thus far, the Bears have looked nothing but comfortable when they hit the road, and there’s no reason to expect that to change.

Cal will face a defective Aggie team that has been crushed in almost every match this season. Their sole win was a narrow 2-1 victory over a poor Bryant University squad that Cal blew out 8-0.

This will be the Bears’ second conference matchup of the season, and if they continue to perform the way have in the past few games, they should take this one without a problem. But, a division rival that has learned Cal’s style of play over many years should never be discounted.

It’s important to note that the reason to why the Aggies have struggled so far this season may be due in part to their tough schedule. Four of the eight teams they have faced are ranked in the top 25 — No. 5 Michigan, No. 10 Harvard, No. 13 Syracuse and No. 16 William & Mary. Cal, however, has only had the opportunity to battle against No. 13 Syracuse and No. 21 Pacific, and although they handled Pacific 4-1, they lost to the Syracuse Orange. The Bears and the Aggies also both faced Michigan State and Iowa, and both lost. Overall, Cal’s and UC Davis’ schedules may differ, but each team has had a chance to prove itself against tough teams all season, and Cal seems to have it all figured out.

The Aggies have struggled to convert goals this season, with a miniscule total of six goals. Things won’t be getting any easier for them this week with standout Cal sophomore goaltender Danielle Mentink in charge of the net. Mentink earned American East Defensive Player of the Week a few weeks ago and tallied six saves last weekend. The Bears should also have an offensive advantage over a porous UC Davis’ defense, which has allowed 3.88 goals per game. Cal has caged a whopping total of 26 goals in its first nine games and should continue to find the net this weekend at Davis.

The Bears look like a machine with all the gears working effectively in place. A win against a conference opponent this Friday should fuel their momentum and keep them plowing through their opponents.

Jesus Aceves covers field hockey. Contact him at [email protected]