Bears Embark On Final Trip Of 2021 Spring Regular Season
BERKELEY - Wrapping up play on the west coast for the 2021 spring season, the California field hockey team flies back to the east coast for the second time this season, hoping to clinch a spot in the America East Conference Tournament.
Cal faces UAlbany first on Thursday, April 15, at noon PT from Albany, New York. The Bears then trek to Vermont to face New Hampshire in a neutral-site match on Saturday, April 17, at noon PT before staying in Vermont to face the Catamounts on Sunday, April 18, at 11 a.m. PT in the regular season finale. Currently in sixth place in the standings, Cal needs to move up to fourth to qualify for the conference tournament.
"I'm excited about this trip," said the Donna Fong Director of Field Hockey Shellie Onstead. "We get better every time we play. I want my players to be encouraged and excited, just like I am. We're going to take these games one at a time, starting with Albany."
Bears WIn OT Thriller On Senior Night
• Megan Connors' backhanded overtime goal gave Cal a 3-2 win over UC Davis on Senior Night on April 3, the second straight season in which Cal defeated the Aggies, 3-2, on Senior Night. Cal overcame a 1-0 deficit when Maddie Cleat tipped in Brynn Zorilla's shot in the third quarter off of a short corner to tie the match at 1. Kiki de Bruijne scored the first goal of her collegiate career in the fourth quarter to put Cal up, 2-1. Fellow true freshman Sara Stone earned an assist on the goal.
• Facing undefeated No. 18 Stanford twice last week, Cal goalkeeper Cato Knipping was tested early and often and stood tall. In the match in Berkeley on April 6, Knipping made a career-high eight saves, and followed that with another personal best with 12 stops in the April 11 meeting at Stanford, giving her 20 combined saves for the week.
On the year, Knipping has played every minute in each game this season, boasting a 2.26 goals-against average with one shutout.
Bears All-Time Vs. This Week's Foes
• Cal has only played UAlbany once before, a 1-0 Cal win in 2008. Cal is 3-4 all-time vs. New Hampshire, and the Bears last met the Wildcats in the first round of the 2019 America East Tournament, a 2-1 Cal win behind two fourth-quarter goals. Prior to that, New Hampshire won, 3-2, in the 2017 America East Tournament. The Bears are 1-1 all-time against Vermont. In 2016, the Catamounts beat the Bears, 3-2. Cal beat Vermont, 4-1, in 1996.
• Two of Cal's nine freshmen have started each game in 2021 - Kiki de Bruijne and Claire Hind, while Sara Stone has started seven and appeared in all eight. Stone scored her first career goal on March 12 and earned an assist during Cal's 3-2 double overtime win over UC Davis on April 3. De Bruijne scored her first two career goals in Cal's last two home games against the Aggies on April 3 and vs. No. 18 Stanford on April 6.
• A program-record group of 23 Cal field hockey student-athletes honored with 2020 Zag Field Hockey/NFHCA Division I National Academic Squad laurels. The 23 recipients rank third in the nation. In addition, Sara Deck was one of nearly 200 student-athletes to garner the honor a fourth time. Ryan Poe and Brynn Zorilla picked up the honor for a third consecutive season. In addition, Cato Knipping, Natalie Moore, Sara Stone and Kaiden Stanley were tabbed NFHCA Scholars of Distinction with Knipping earning the honor for the second straight year. Cal was also once again tabbed an NFHCA National Academic Squad.
• If Cal finishes in the top four in the America East Conference standings, the Bears will advance to next week's America East Conference Tournament. The top seed at the end of the regular season will host the tournament. Last year, Cal advanced to the semifinals before falling to the host and eventual tournament champion, Monmouth.