Bears Play Stellar Defense But Come Up Short
BERKELEY – The Cal women's field hockey team had another stellar defensive day. However, the Golden Bears came up short as No. 17 James Madison came away with the 2-1 win on Sunday afternoon at Underhill Field.
Statistically, the game looked very one-sided with the Dukes (10-6) outshooting the Bears (4-9) 17-2. In reality, most of those shots came on second and third attempts inside the circle, and Cal's defense was up to the task.
"Every time that the ball was in the circle for JMU they were getting multiple shots," said the Donna Fong Director of Field Hockey Shellie Onstead. "Hats off to them, but that added to the shot count. Fortunately, Cato was great as usual. But the game didn't feel as one-sided as the shot total looked. They were in the circle a lot today we handled it well, but there were more opportunities for us offensively than the two shots, we had two corners and scored a goal on one."
Jane Onners scored Cal's only goal of the game, it was her first of the season. It came midway through the fourth quarter on the Bears' second penalty of the game. Rachel Buttinger had the assist on the goal.
James Madison's first goal of the afternoon game late in the third quarter when Skyler Brown came up with the ball in a scrum in front of the cage and sent a shot past Knipping. Morgan Merritt scored the game-winning goal for the Dukes early in the fourth quarter.
Senior keeper Cato Knipping was stellar in her final home contest as a Golden Bear. Of the 17 shots by the Dukes, nine were on goal, Knipping finished with six saves. The two goals conceded came when a JMU player corralled a loose ball in the circle on a penalty.
"It was a very defensive game and I thought we handled it really well," added Onstead. "I think our defense has shown a lot of growth in the last month. Staying with the play, not giving up on plays. The fact that both of their goals were corners is a really good sign. We got to do a better job of taking care of the ball on our front 50, mixing up the speculative passes with the build that is going to get us an outcome. I think we are playing well offensively, but there's just another level to finish off things inside the circle."
Cal will return to the East Coast next for a very important road trip. The Bear wrap up the regular season by taking on UMass-Lowell on Friday, Oct. 28 at 10 a.m. PT before wrapping up the year in Burlington, VT on Oct. 30 when they take on Vermont at 9:00 a.m. PT.
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