Cal Converts on Corner, Holds On for Win Over Cardinal

Nick Fradkin/Staff

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Shouting from the sideline, Cal field hockey coach Shellie Onstead wasn't secretive about reshuffling her offense in Friday's game against Stanford.

Tied 1-1 midway through the second half, the No. 15 Bears drew their sixth penalty corner of the game and Onstead saw an opportunity.

"We noticed an opening on the left side and I had initially sent the play in secretly to one of the players," Onstead said. "But for some reason that didn't transfer over, so the next corner I actually called it out, which of course you never want to do."

Not only did Onstead openly announce the play to the entire field, but Cal had unsuccessfully attempted the same play in the first half.

"The corner team was just so on and we talked things over at halftime, so we thought we could give it another try," senior Carolina Bistue said.

Senior Kelly York injected the ball to senior stopper Rachel Moffitt and the Cardinal fly cheated right. Moffit redirected the ball under senior Katie Knoche to Bistue at the top of the circle for the one-timed game winning goal and the 2-1 Bears victory.

The misdirection may have worked that time, but the Cardinal might not fall prey to the same trickery when they face Cal again on Sunday in the Bears final regular-season conference match of the year.

"They know what to expect now and we need to step our game up because they're going to be doing the same," senior Kelly Knoche said. "But if we are planning on being in the final four and being that top team, winning consecutively can't even be a question."

Stanford got a glimpse of the Bears before their next meeting that will affect the NorPac tournament seeding, but Cal also picked up on some Cardinal cues.

"They're playing one of their typical deep defenders as a midfielder and a forward which is very interesting," Onstead said. "They also have two strong English players and I had no idea where they would be, but now I can fine tune our play to that as well."

While Cal got familiar with Stanford's strategy, most of the players already knew their opponents personally.

"As we're running down the field we call the other team's names and (Stanford) does the same thing to us," sophomore Natalie Nurnberg said.

The chummy off-the-field relationships surely don't translate to the game, but the familiarity does help.

"It's weird because they call out our actual names, but I think that also makes it easier because we know what they're talking about," Nurnberg said. "It's just really competitive and it comes down to strategy."

Even if the Bears always play Stanford with a personal familiarity, this first game could only have created a better-tailored matchup on Sunday.

"There will probably be some different tactics next time because both teams get to review film," Onstead said. "I think the corners will become more sophisticated depending on what you see on defense. I don't know what they saw, but this experience will make it a closer game."


Contact Caroline Ogawa at [email protected]

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