Bears Shut Out Stanford, 2-0
BERKELEY - Celebrating its seniors for Senior Night and its alums for Pack The Stands night, the California field hockey team gave everybody a reason to celebrate Friday night with a 2-0 shutout victory over Stanford from Underhill Field.
The Golden Bears improved to 9-4 on the year and 5-1 in the America East Conference. Cal has now won each of its last three games by the score of 2-0. In addition, in America East Conference play, the Bears are outscoring their opponents, 11-6. The nine wins also matches Cal's highest win total since 2017. Tonight's win over the Cardinal also marked the first time since 2007 that Cal defeated Stanford twice in a season.
Just like in the season opener, Stanford went without a goalie in the cage and played with a player advantage instead.
"I consider this one of the toughest games of the season," said the Donna Fong Director of Field Hockey Shellie Onstead. "Just because they didn't have a goalie, it doesn't make it any easier. It just changes the dynamic quite a bit. We worked on the fact that we needed to make a lot of adjustments on the fly, so we had to be really good at communication to do that. It forced a unique approach to the game, which is good for us overall."
Brynn Zorilla got the Bears on the board first, successfully converting on a penalty stroke in the first quarter.
The Bears fought off consistent offensive pressure from the Cardinal. Stanford earned eight corners to one for Cal, and the Cardinal also out shot the Bears, 13-6. Following numerous consecutive corners from Stanford in the third quarter, Cal added its insurance goal when Kiki de Bruijne drove down and slipped a shot in the far corner.
"That's happened to us before when you're really on the front foot, and then all of the sudden something like that happens, Onstead said. "So I'm happy to see us stay with our gameplan and not fall apart back in our end. They're throwing a lot of extra bodies out there, so when you can do that, it's a backbreaker. Great for Kiki."
Cato Knipping earned the win, making five saves in the victory. Although she kept Stanford off the scoresheet, she wasn't credited with a shutout because the Bears subbed in Lyndsay Swanston to finish the game.
Prior to the start of the game, the Bears honored their seven seniors - Maggie Blundi, Maddie Cleat, Makaela Hoang, Ryan Poe, Lyndsay Swanston, Anne Van Hoof and Zorilla.
"We had three grad students this year because of the extension of eligibility due to Covid," Onstead said. "We got two who spent four years prior at another program and blended in just perfectly, and as a whole, they've been the leaders you want in a senior class. I'm glad they had a great night."
Cal concludes the regular season next weekend on the east coast. The Bears will face Monmouth on Friday, Oct. 29, at 11 a.m. PT and UAlbany on Sunday, Oct. 31, at 9 a.m. PT. These games will determine seeding and a potential first-round bye in the following weekend's America East Conference Tournament.