Cal field hockey ends weekend with win against ranked opponent

Ruby Sapia/Staff

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A race is all about the finish.  When preparing for a race, athletes come in with a strategy.  Some start off slow, and some fast, but everyone is chasing the same goal: to finish strong. The Bears endured a slow start to their weekend with a loss to Brown, but came out with their first shutout of the season and defeated a ranked opponent in No. 24 Cornell to ensure a strong finish.

On Thursday Cal came close to defeating Brown, but not close enough. Brown started the matchup fast, scoring two goals within the first 11 minutes of the game.  It was an uneventful second quarter, but the Bears brought some excitement back after the halftime break.

Cal freshman forward Monica Arteaga and senior midfielder Gabi Jimenez both scored in the second half for the Bears. This goal was Arteaga’s second in her collegiate career, her first occurring the previous weekend against Central Michigan.

Although the Bears’ momentum picked up, it was not enough to win the game.  Brown sophomore midfielder Dani van Rootselaar scored her second goal of the game and her team’s third by converting a penalty corner in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, winning the game 3-2.

Cal was able to overcome the frustration from the previous day’s loss and make a comeback with a sweep against Sacred Heart University.

It took less than six minutes for the Bears to score two goals — and they took initiative for the remainder of the game. Cal’s redshirt senior forward Katrina Carter and senior midfielder Lindsay Mathison were responsible for the first two goals. Junior forward Megan Rodgers and Arteaga, who made an appearance in the second period, scored two more — leaving Cal up 4-0 against Sacred Heart in the first half.

The Bears continued to take command of the field in the second half where Carter and Rodgers each scored their second goal of the game. Cal swept Sacred Heart aside with a final score of 6-0, outshooting their opponent 23-6.

The weekend continued in New Haven, Connecticut for the Bears with a matchup against No. 24 Cornell.  Cal has faced multiple ranked teams this season with little to show for it. The Bears have not conquered a ranked opponent since October 2017 when they beat Stanford, ranked No. 14 at the time.

That same perseverance surfaced almost two years later as the Bears won 3-1 against Cornell.

The scoreboard did not see any action until the second quarter, where three of the game’s four goals were scored. Mathison scored the first goal for the Bears and was quickly countered by Cornell junior midfielder Julianne Mangano, who tied the game. Four minutes later Cal junior midfielder Maddie Cleat took the lead back for the Bears.

The second half of the game showed more midfield action and fewer shots.  The third and fourth quarters were seemingly uneventful until Rodgers scored a goal for the Bears with less than five minutes remaining, sealing the game.

Cal outshot Cornell 23-10, with 18 shots on target compared to Cornell’s five.

The Bears are showing marked signs of improvement and have now outscored opponents 19-5 in the last four games and have an improved record of 6-8 on the season. Cal may not have started their race according to plan this weekend, but they pushed through the defeat and made a comeback, finishing the weekend strong.

Mara Redican covers field hockey. Contact her at [email protected].