After a season filled with notable victories and many reasons to celebrate, Cal field hockey will soon conclude its fall 2021 season run on the East Coast.
Cal went up against Monmouth University on Friday, Oct. 29, in West Long Branch, New Jersey, and then faced off against the University at Albany on Sunday Oct. 31 in Albany, New York, in two back-to-back games that tested the limits of the Bears’ strength and endurance.
The blue and gold last competed against Monmouth during March of their spring 2021 season. The game ended in a 0-3 loss for Cal and a deserving victory for Monmouth. Their most recent match against Albany on April 15, 2015, saw the Bears return from New York with a 3-0 win.
Although the last two games of this season were not on Cal’s home turf, Underhill Field, which set the Bears at a slight disadvantage, the team got to travel to the East Coast and were able to advance to the quarterfinals of the America East Field Hockey Championships.
Prior to their games against these two impressive teams, the Bears held a 9-4 in overall standing and a 5-1 in conference standings. The Bears now hold a 9-6 in overall standing and a 5-3 in conference standing. With a recent three-game winning streak, including the team’s fresh 2-0 win against Cal’s biggest rival, Stanford, Bear fans were eagerly rooting for their team all the way from the West Coast, and expectations for the Monmouth and Albany games were high.
“Our spring season has really prepared us for fall. It was definitely hard during the pandemic, only seeing the team, but we trained really hard and we’ve come out here and are having a great season,” said graduate student Maddie Cleat.
Unfortunately for the blue and gold, Cal got the short end of the stick with its losses to Monmouth and Albany this past week. The final score for the game against Monmouth was 2-3, and the Albany match ended in 1-2.
Monmouth senior and team forward, Annick van Lange, scored all three of the team goals against Cal. The Bears’ Megan Connors, junior and team midfielder and Kiki de Bruijne, sophomore and team forward, each scored a goal during the second quarter of the game.
During the game in Albany, Albany freshman and team midfielder Alison Smisdom scored both goals against Cal. Meanwhile the Bears’ Brynn Zorilla, senior and team midfielder, assisted by Claire Hind and Connors, contributed a goal the very last quarter with less than a minute and a half remaining in the game.
As a result of Cal’s two losses, it has fallen to No. 3 within the America East conference, with Monmouth leading the conference in first and Maine following in second.
Although the Bears lost both of their last two games of the fall 2021 season, it is fair to say that they put up an excellent fight — one that tested their communication skills, as well as their resilience.
The America East Conference will be held Nov. 4-7 in Orono, Maine. If the Bears walk away from their first game against the University of New Hampshire victorious, they will face the University of Maine in the semifinals the following day, Nov. 5. After a two-game defeat to two teams who call the East Coast their home, Cal is vying to at least claim one victory during its stint on the other side of the country.
Cassandra Maciel-Hernandez covers field hockey. Contact her at [email protected].