College sports is full of upsets and tales of the underdog, with surprises happening year after year in every sport. Unfortunately for the Bears field hockey team, they have yet to produce any such results despite playing well against ranked opponents this season.
Cal took on No. 7 Michigan over the weekend, ultimately coming up short in what was a close game right up to the final whistle. Despite the Bears’ efforts, the match ended with a 2-1 victory for the Wolverines.
The game started slow, with a scoreless first quarter before the Bears’ redshirt senior Katrina Carter finally found the back of the net after more than 28 minutes. The second period, in particular, was a great one for Cal, as the team recorded five shots after going the first period without a single one.
The Bears were unable to keep the lead in the second half though, as the Wolverines responded with two goals of their own. A 2-1 defeat in which the Bears played up to the level of the No. 7 team in the nation should not be overlooked, though, as the Bears season will roll on.
“I think its really really positive,” said head coach Shellie Onstead. “We can play with these ranked teams, we’re just as good as they are.”
The confidence by Onstead is backed by the numbers, as Cal only recorded four fewer shots and three fewer penalty opportunities than Michigan. Unfortunately, the second half was one that Michigan dominated, with seven shots to Cal’s two.
The Bears star from last season, junior Megan Rodgers, is still scoreless this year after scoring 13 goals in 2018 and 17 goals in 2017. Cal will be hoping that Rodgers can get back in a rhythm so that she can help lead the offense again as the season goes on.
If the Bears continue their strong play against such high-ranked opponents, and Rodgers rediscovers her form soon, fans everywhere should be optimistic about the team’s season, especially as conference play draws nearer.
If Cal can continue strong performances like this in the future, fans may see the team creating some of those upsets that have become so common in college sports. Cal’s next opportunity to prove themselves will be on Sept. 13 against Iowa.