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Cal Embarks On America East Conference Tournament

Nov 2, 2021
Cal Begins Play In The America East Tournament On Thursday

BERKELEY - For the sixth time in the last seven seasons, the California field hockey team will participate in the America East Conference Tournament at UMaine FH Complex in Orono, ME. The No. 4 seed Golden Bears will meet No. 5 seed New Hampshire on Thursday, Nov. 4, at 9 a.m. PT in the opening round. If Cal wins, it will play No. 1 seed and host No. 25 Maine on Friday, Nov. 5, at 9 a.m. PT. 
A win on Thursday would put the Bears in double digits in the win column, and it would be their most wins in a season since the 2011 Bears finished with 16.  
Heading into the postseason, Cal has five players who have scored at least eight points. Anne Van Hoof paces the squad with 10 on five goals, while Rachel Buttinger (4 goals), Maddie Cleat (3 goals, 2 assists), Megan Connors (2 goals, 4 assists) and Kiki de Bruijne (2 goals 4 assists) are right behind her with eight points each.  
Last Time Vs. New Hampshire
• The Bears defeated New Hampshire in the AE Conference opener on Sept. 24, 3-2. Rachel Buttinger scored twice, while Sara Stone tallied a goal and an assist. Cato Knipping made six saves in the victory. Cal posted 12 shots, eight on goal.      
Offense Dominates In Wins
• In Cal's nine wins this season, the Bears have outscored their opponents, 18-4, with six shutouts, including the last three consecutive games. Eighteen of the Bears' 20 goals this season have come in victories. Cal has also out shot its opponents, 121-84, in wins. Eight of the nine wins were either shutouts or one-goal victories, including an OT winner on Sept. 26 at UMass-Lowell.  
Cato Recognized Times Three
• Three times this season, including two consecutive weeks, Cato Knipping earned America East Defensive Player Of The Week honors. Knipping's efforts helped Cal rattle off three straight shutout victories earlier this season. She ranks third in the AE in goals-against average at 1.43 and save percentage (.763). She is also tied for the league lead in shutouts with five. Knipping posted a season-best 11 saves last Friday at Monmouth.  
Cal All-time Vs. This Week's Foes
• The Bears are 5-4 all-time against New Hampshire, and have beaten the Wildcats in the last three meetings. Cal also topped New Hampshire in the first meeting in 1980. The Bears are 3-5 all-time against Maine. The Black Bears have won the last three meetings, most recently a 4-1 Maine victory earlier this season.
Bears All-Time In The AE Tournament
• Since debuting in the America East Conference in 2015, Cal is 2-5 all-time in the tournament. The Bears competed in the tournament most-recently in 2019, defeating New Hampshire, 2-1, before falling to eventual tournament champion and host Monmouth, 4-3. Cal's other win in the tournament came in 2016, a 3-2 win over Maine. The Bears have played Maine three times in the tournament all-time with a 1-2 record.         
Smart Bears
• A program-record group of 23 Cal field hockey student-athletes were honored with 2020 Zag Field Hockey/NFHCA Division I National Academic Squad laurels. 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. In addition, 22 Bears earned America East Honor Roll accolades, with 16 picking up AE Commissioner's Honor Roll stature (3.5 GPA or better). Earlier this week, Cal won the Newmark Award for the highest GPA (3.603) among Cal's large women's programs. 
Next Up
• If Cal wins the America East Conference Tournament, the Bears will play in an NCAA play-in game next week to gain a berth into the NCAA Tournament.