Shootout Win Propels Cal to 12th Straight NorPac Championship Game

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As both Cal and Davidson proved on Friday, a one-goal lead can vanish all too quickly.

However, while having a one-goal lead might be ephemeral in regulation, it's the guaranteed game-winner in overtime play. A golden goal in extra minutes would have advanced either team to the finals, but the score remained deadlocked at two goals apiece after two overtimes.

For the second time this season, the Bears entered into a shootout situation. And for the second time this season, Cal prevailed on strokes, finally topping the Wildcats, 3-2, after more than 100 minutes of play.

"You've got so much space on the field that it demands an awful lot of running," head coach Shellie Onstead said.

"The several that were on the whole time were phenomenal. Deanna Kennedy never came off, Megan Psyllos never came off, Lisa Lohre never came off, and Shannon Elmitt never came off. There was a lot of, in my opinion, heart and mental toughness that carried them through."

Although it may have taken longer than the Bears expected, the end result is the same: a 12th straight appearance in the NorPac championship match.

Moreover, Cal's opponent is none other than Stanford for a fifth consecutive year.

Unlike the Cardinal's 3-0 shutout against Longwood, the Bears' semifinal match was not nearly as straightforward.

In the second half, Davidson turned a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead within the span of a minute. NorPac leading scorer Finley Amato and Christine Rua both corralled rebounds to give the Wildcats a 2-1 advantage.

But in the 50th minute, Cal turned the tables on Davidson to tie the game. The Wildcats blocked Psyllos' shot on a penalty corner, but fellow senior Lohre secured the rebound and put the game-tying goal past keeper Sarah Fisher.

Neither team could score the elusive goal in overtime, but all five of the Bears' strokers found the back of the cage in the shootout. Though it may not have been an ideal win, Cal's resiliency in the face of elimination can only help as the Bears try to wrest the championship crown from Stanford in Saturday's 10:30 a.m. match.

"We'll just build on the fact that we're pretty tough, and it's gonna be that kind of battle now that we know them pretty well," Onstead said. "Judging by our standards, Stanford is gonna be hard-fought. We'll be ready."


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

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