Imagine your favorite dessert, the kind that will have your mouth watering from the thought of it. That ooey-gooey maple pecan cinnamon roll that leaves you licking the plate without shame. Or the classic chocolate chip cookie and its melted chocolate combined with the warm, chewy center that makes “diet” a four-letter word.
This past Tuesday, Cal field hockey was also picturing its favorite confection, a slice of victory against No. 16 Stanford. The Bears were able to come close to a taste but not enough for a bite after Stanford defeated them 3-2.
Coming into the second conference game this season for both sides, Stanford held the advantage with a 2-0 victory back in September. Cal has made many improvements since then, forcing three overtime games and coming up with a win against a ranked opponent, No. 24 Cornell.
Although the outcome Tuesday was not in the Bears’ favor, their efforts in the second half gave an accurate representation of their improvements this season.
The first 30 minutes belonged to Stanford, compiling five penalty corners and three goals in the first half. Stanford junior attacker Corinne Zanolli was responsible for all three Cardinal goals, earning her seventh career hat trick and 25th goal this season. Zanolli is now leading the nation in goals and is on track to beat her record of 26, which was recorded last season.
Going into halftime down by three goals, the Bears had two options for the next half. They could submit to their opponents and allow the game to progress at a fixed rate or they could take initiative and try for that bite of triumph.
“In the locker room at halftime, we knew we needed to take responsibility,” said head coach Shellie Onstead. “It’s completely mental. I wanted to see us play to our potential in the second half, and then I knew we’d make a game of it.”
Cal came back with a noticeably different approach in the third. With only a few minutes left in the period, Bears junior midfielder Megan Rodgers put Cal on the board after a faceoff with Stanford senior goalkeeper Kelsey Bing, making her 11th goal of the season.
The momentum transferred into the fourth quarter for the Bears, as they scored another goal, closing in on the Cardinal lead. This goal was overturned, however, and the brief, one-goal deficit returned to two.
Cal quickly put the past behind it and came back when a backhand shot from sophomore midfielder Brynn Zorilla found the back of the net.
“To get the one goal called back, which was the correct call by the refs, and still answer is monumental,” Onstead said. “We’ve come back in games quite a bit this season. What’s missing is staying on top when you either have a lead or playing better than the other team.”
The Bears made their best efforts in the second half but did not manage to fit another goal in the remaining minutes of the game. Each team ended with 10 shots, but Stanford had nine penalty corners to the Cal’s three.
This win for Stanford clinched the America East’s West Division title and saved them a spot in the conference tournament next month. They will be without their goalie the remainder of this season, as Bing leaves to help Team USA dock a spot in the 2020 Olympics.
Cal will play UC Davis for the second time this season next Wednesday, Oct. 30. This will be the last regular season game for the Bears before they compete in the America East Conference Tournament next month.
Mara Redican covers field hockey. Contact her at [email protected].