Cal Slips In The Fourth, Loses To Monmouth, 3-2
WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ - Holding on to a one-goal lead after three quarters, the California field hockey team allowed two goals in the fourth quarter and lost to Monmouth, 3-2, Friday afternoon from So Sweet A Cat Field.
The Golden Bears fell to 9-5, 5-2, on the year, and Cal had its three-game winning streak snapped. Friday's game also marked the first time the Bears allowed a goal in four games.
With the loss, Cal and Monmouth are tied for second place in the America East Standings with one game left to play in the regular season. The second-place team receives a first-round bye in next week's America East Conference Tournament. Maine is the one seed and host of the tournament.
"It's always a close game with Monmouth, said the Donna Fong Director of Field Hockey Shellie Onstead. "I definitely thought it would be a one-goal game, one way or another. I thought it would come down to the last quarter, as well. I thought the team was well-prepared for it. It was a good game. It was an exciting game. We're not happy with the loss, but we'll try to get 'em back when we hopefully meet in the conference tournament."
After Cal fought off constant offensive pressure in the third quarter by Monmouth, the Hawks finally evened the game at two halfway through the third quarter. With six minutes remaining in regulation, Monmouth tallied the eventual game-winning goal. Annick Van Lange scored all three Monmouth goals.
The Hawks struck first in the opening quarter when they successfully converted on a penalty corner attempt. Cato Knipping made some big saves in the first period, including tipping a point-blank shot just wide of the cage.
Cal returned the favor with two goals in the second quarter. After inserting on a penalty corner, Megan Connors tipped in a loose ball to even the contest at one. Later in the second quarter, Kiki de Bruijne found the back of the cage in a similar fashion. De Bruijne cleaned up in front of the cage after a penalty corner and made it 2-1, Bears.
"We got it going." Onstead said. "We were a little frantic and nervous during the first quarter, and then at the quarter break we reminded ourselves of some simple things that we need to do well, and it worked. We played a good second quarter and got back on track. I knew if we got corners we would be successful."
In the third quarter, Cal's defensive corner unit held firm after the Hawks garnered multiple corners. For the game, Monmouth earned 15 corners to three for the Bears. Knipping stayed sharp in the quarter, making some big saves to hold Monmouth to one goal. Knipping made a season-high 11 saves on the day.
"We gave up a lot of corners, but that has a lot to do with how Anne [Van Hoof] chooses to run a really brave line," Onstead said.
Monmouth out shot the Bears, 25-9.
The Bears conclude the regular season on Sunday at 9 a.m. PT at UAlbany.