Bears Win Thriller On The Farm
STANFORD, Calif – The Cal women's field hockey team and host Stanford were locked in a defensive struggle with neither side scoring a goal in regulation and two overtime periods. In the end, the Golden Bears came away with the thrilling win thanks to a clutch performance in the shootout, going 4-for-4 to win it at Varsity Turf.
Kiki de Bruijne opened the shootout for Cal (4-8, 3-3 AE) and set the tone, firing a shot past Stanford's (5-7, 3-3 AE) keeper. Stanford equalized on their first attempt, however, the Bears did not wilt and got successful goals from Sophie Everett, Claire Hind, and Sydney Decher. The goal by Decher proved to be the game-winner as keeper Cato Knipping tallied saves on Stanford's second and fourth attempts.
"I actually created a shootout lineup when we got here," said the Donna Fong Director of Field Hockey Shellie Onstead. "Because I thought it just might be one of those nights. It was just a game that was so even and a little bit carefully played. Both sides had good possessions, the contest wasn't as frantic and full of turnovers as some of our other games this season. I think we just match up well with Stanford. It was a good game of hockey."
Defensively, the Bears' backline was brilliant tonight. In a contest that featured just 10 shots total, five from each team. The Bears' defense did a tremendous job of limiting the number of quality looks for Knipping.
"It was something we just talked about in the group huddle afterward," said Onstead on the performance of the backline. "In the pregame, I said we've put a lot of time into the offense and we are getting better numbers, we really needed to bring the defense up to snuff. I didn't think it was a physical thing but more of a mental thing and I think they really responded tonight. They did a lot of stuff that we've been working on for a few weeks but it finally came together. We were more disciplined, we were marking better, we were talking better and they really stepped up tonight."
The opening half belonged to the defenses. Stanford tallied two shots, neither on target. The Bears countered with just one shot of their own, a nice attempt by Buttinger that was swatted away by the Cardinal defense. Neither team had a shot on goal in the first half or a penalty corner.
In the fourth quarter, the Bears got their first and best look on goal when Sophie Everett blasted a shot from the left side of the circle but Cardinal keeper Daisey Ford knocked it away for the first of her three second half saves.
In the 56th minute, Olivia Sharratt got a terrific look on goal in front of the cage, but Ford was once again up to the task and kept the Bears off the scoreboard.
In the first overtime, Cato Knipping came up with a huge save midway through the period to keep the two sides level. Cal had a pair of attempts, one by Sara Stone that was knocked away, Caoimhe Byrne corralled the loose ball and fired a shot on goal that was blocked by the Cardinal defense.
"We fulfilled one of our goals and that was to be the best in the West," added Onstead. "Tonight, sets us up nicely going into the last couple of weeks."
Cal will return home for their final home game of the 2022 season when James Madison comes to Underhill Field. That game will take place on Sunday, October 23 at 1:00 p.m. It will feature live video and live stats.
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