Bears Get Their Scoring Rolling in the Grass

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There's already turf toe.

The No. 16 Cal field hockey team added a new playing surface-related ailment to the sports dictionary. Say hello to grass mind.

Playing on Brookside field in Stockton, Calif., the Bears had to take their time adjusting to the grass before they could focus their efforts on disposing of Pacific 2-1, in overtime.

Cal (7-3, 2-0 in NorPac) remained undefeated in conference play, but it didn't come easy.

The Bears had to overcome the mental obstacles of playing on the less preferred surface and the physical challenges of playing a grass game they are less accustomed to this season.

While the Bears had tried to simulate grass conditions in practice by deliberately not watering Maxwell Family Field, they struggled as much with a surprisingly feisty opponent as the surface.

"Pacific played very well," Cal coach Shellie Onstead said. "They were just a little hungrier and always first to the ball in the first half."

In the 15th minute of play, Pacific's Alexandra Fiorina took advantage of a defensive mix-up to give the Tigers (1-7, 0-3 NorPac) an early advantage that they would take into the half.

During the intermission, Cal underwent a few adjustments to come back for the second half with a newfound intensity. The Bears said they came back together as a unit and pushed and cut to the ball a little harder.

But maybe Cal just wasn't ready for such a game Pacific team, especially with the Tigers' 0-2 conference record coming into the game.

"I told them at the half that they were a little flat to begin with and had been outplayed," Onstead said. "And that it was their choice to make a better effort and not let the grass frustrate them."

Cal responded from the initial shock of trailing the last-place team in the conference by turning to its leaders.

Co-captain Erin Booth tied the game with a goal in the 54th minute.

Once in overtime, the other co-captain, Nora Feddersen, provided the game-winner on an intercepted pass.

Hard-pressed for goals of late, the Bears have been fortunate to receive steady support from Feddersen.

The junior has been responsible for more than half of the goals Cal has scored the past 4 games.

With Cal going 2-2 during that stretch, Feddersen has also scored both game winners.

"She's definitely a solid player and a playmaker," forward Lisa D'Anjou said. "It's her consistency that allows her to score (so often)."


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