Cardinal Spoils Cal's Home Season Finale

Photo: Defender Lisa Lohre took two shots in her final game at Maxwell Family Field. She was one of three players who ended their home career schedules with a 4-2 loss to Stanford.
Allyse Bacharach/File
Defender Lisa Lohre took two shots in her final game at Maxwell Family Field. She was one of three players who ended their home career schedules with a 4-2 loss to Stanford.

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Any member of the Cal field hockey team will say to expect close finishes in games against Stanford.

And in close matches, the outcome is defined by just a few, but significant, individual plays. A couple of late goals garnered a 4-2 victory for the Cardinal (11-5, 5-1 in NorPac), in addition to a share of the NorPac West Division championship along with the Bears.

Unlike the first meeting between the two teams in September, the late goal that decided the game belonged to Stanford, and not to Cal (8-8, 5-1). With six minutes left to play, Stanford's leading scorer Becky Dru took a shot from the top of the circle to break the 2-2 deadlock.

Although the Cardinal out-cornered the Bears, 12-5, it couldn't do much with that advantage against Cal's defense.

"Those are designed plays that we had defended quite a few successfully," Bears head coach Shellie Onstead said. "So for them to only score once on a corner, I'm actually pretty happy about."

Less than two minutes later, Stanford capitalized on Cal's confusion surrounding a foul call - or rather, the lack of a call. The Bears waited for a whistle for what they thought was a foul on a preceding play. The call never came, and Xanthe Travlos took advantage of the momentary disconcertion to double Stanford's lead with an uncontested shot at the net.

But as in all close games, momentum often hinges on a single play one that might have precluded the Cardinal's two last-minute goals and given Cal the edge in the final outcome.

Halfway through the second half, the Bears had their own opportunity to break the 2-2 tie on a breakaway. However, Megan Shimojima's shot from the right side went wide and Cal couldn't collect the loose ball to fire home for a goal.

"To be honest with you that's a tough fluke - we make the breakaway here and take those two (goals) away, it was that kind of game," Onstead said. "It was close."

Though Stanford carried its lead through the final minutes of the game, the Bears' defensive effort had Onstead watching the clock. Cal did not have to clear the ball from its side of the field until the 26th minute.

The defense allowed the Bears to set up in front of the Cardinal's cage in the 11th minute, when freshman Shannon Elmitt wrapped the ball around the post to give Cal an early lead.

Such defensive pressure should serve the Bears well in the NorPac tournament from Nov. 4-6. There, No. 2-seeded Cal may have the chance to mete out revenge against No. 1-seeded Stanford, which broke its 11-game losing streak at Maxwell Field on the Bears' Senior Night.

"The seniors were great, "Onstead said. "You'd like to send them out with a win, but we'll turn around and focus on next week and try to make it up then."


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

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