Cal Slips Past Stanford in OT

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STANFORD - The Cal field hockey team wanted to go to strokes.

While most teams dread shootouts, it is where the Bears defeated Rhode Island earlier this season, and where the team's goalie, Sarah Hoehn, is able to deflect most of what is knocked her way.

The line is exactly where Cal defeated Stanford Saturday, 1-0, in penalty strokes after both teams failed to score during regulation time and two 15-minute overtime periods.

"At half time I told them the bad news was that they were playing poorly," Cal coach Shellie Onstead said. "I said the good news is that if you are able to play this poorly and stay in the game, we will be able to go into strokes."

The win furthers Cal's chances at repeating last years championship conference finish.

Cal (5-3, 3-0 in NorPac) only has two conference games remaining against St. Louis and Davidson College. Last year, Cal pounded both teams 8-1 and 7-1 respectively.

"The win (against Stanford) is important because it basically determines who is league champions," Bears captain Leslie Katch said. "Basically if we win this game we would win the league."

Part of Cal's poor play during its matchup with Stanford was a result of a shuffled lineup.

Forward Lisa D'Anjou was sick and unable to play and forward Elizabeth Harkins was injured.

D'anjou is the second highest goal scorer on the team with two goals so far this season. Harkins is second in shots on goal with 17.

"We really worked on our quick passes," Katch said. "It did not happen so much in the first half as in the second."

The Cardinal play produced more offensive opportunities than the Bears with 23 shots inside the circle compared to Cal's 11.

"It is always such a mental game versus Stanford," Katch said. "No matter what we are working hard and it is a mental battle."

After overtime, Katch was the first to step up to goal against Stanford's goalkeeper Rebecca Shapiro. Katch was unable to score and her shot ricocheted off the post.

Up for the Cardinal was Melissa Stai, whose shot also met the right post.

Cal's Nora Feddersen went to the line and blasted the ball to the upper-left corner to get the Bears' first point.

Hoehn then smothered the shot of Stanford's Amrit Chima, opening the door for Cal's Stephaine Lyons to retain the lead.

Lyons placed the ball perfectly in the bottom-left corner past a diving Shapiro. Hoehn once again knocked out the Cardinal's hopes of winning as she stopped a shot by Erica Swesey.

Closing the deal for Cal was Sarah Hunt. Her goal to the bottom-right corner eliminated the need for another Stanford player to take a stroke.

According to Katch, what makes the team so strong at strokes is the Bears constant repetition and practicing the technique of penalty shots in practice.

"We know when we step up for strokes we are very confident," Katch said. "We know either we will make a stroke or (Hoehn) will save it."

Bonnie Chang, who played forward for the game, said that it also came down to who wanted to win more.

"We wanted it so bad," Chang said, "We were mad because we didn't score during regular time." While the win has placed Cal in a perfect place to capture the league championship, Onstead said it also has other benefits.

If the Bears get the the league title Cal does not have to compete in the first game of the playoffs, allowing the team a day off while others have to play three games in a row.

The next game for the Bears is against Pacific in Stockton, Calif., Saturday.


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