Offense, Confidence Rebound in 3-2 Victory Over Visiting Harvard

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As the afternoon heated up in Maxwell Field, so did the Cal field hockey team.

The same offense that was held quiet last weekend exploded for 15 shots and nine corners, controlling the pace of the game in a 3-2 win against Harvard on Sunday.

"We focused a lot more on attack this week, which is what we were lacking last weekend," coach Shellie Onstead said. "Knowing that this would be a more offensive game, with the way the attack was moving, I was able to play everybody, so that was good stuff."

Cal (6-6, 4-0 in the NorPac) took control early on freshman Shannon Elmitt's goal in the 12th minute. Elmitt hustled to put in a rebound off a corner past Crimson keeper Cynthia Tassopoulos.

Another reason for the kick-start in the Bears' offense was due in large part to sophomore Deanna Kennedy.

With the score tied 1-1 in the opening minutes of the second half, Cal earned its sixth penalty corner of the game. In her role as setter, Kennedy crossed the ball to fellow midfielder Elmitt, who then dished to senior Erin Magill at the top of the circle for the score.

"(Kennedy is) amazing at helping out in the penalty corners," Elmitt said. "She's like a little crab."

Kennedy's eighth assist of the season didn't just help the Bears claw out of the tie. It also landed her in the school's history books.

After adding to the 10 assists she collected as a freshman, the San Diego, Calif., native is now tied for seventh place in school history for career assists with a very familiar name. Kennedy shares the honor of 18 career assists (and counting) with Onstead herself.

"She's steady on the corner plays, and that's where she's getting her assists and that's where I got mine in my career," Onstead said. "I used to be able to say, 'Well, it took me three years,' but she's only in her second year so she definitely got me. Good for her."

Cal's third goal came in the 52nd minute on Megan Shimojima's shot, and as it turned out, the insurance was completely necessary.

Harvard (3-9), which fell to No. 17 Stanford, 6-0, on Friday, refused to go quietly, earning two corners in the last five minutes to threaten a comeback. Georgia McGillivray tallied a goal with only two minutes left to shrink the Bears' lead to just one.

"I was trying to get a little bit of stability back there, but really, I trust that they would see it out. I think there were a couple fidgets under pressure," Onstead said. "We kind of got wrapped up in a little bit a frantic moment but it's something they can think of on their own."

Cal held on to finish off the Crimson to bring its record back up to .500, which represents the renewal of the Bears' confidence heading into the last four games of the season.

"I think they were playing with a lot of confidence," Onstead said. "I can hear it in the way they were organizing and in the way they're talking. That's what I like seeing and hearing."


Catherine Nguyen covers field hockey. Contact her at [email protected]

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