Field Hockey Tops Tigers in Home Finale

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Pacific brought the sunshine along with them.

The No. 20 Cal field hockey team made sure the Tigers took a loss back home to Stockton.

Overcoming a shaky first half, the Bears (10-6, 5-0 in the NorPac) pulled away late to earn a 4-1 victory and clinch the top spot in the conference.

In its final home game at Maxwell Family Field this season, Cal played to a 1-1 draw after the first 35-minute stanza.

It was a standard seesaw match, as the teams exchanged shots and struggled with possession.

The Tigers (3-12, 2-4) were particularly impressive with their ball control and ability to intercept well-placed passes, and got on the board first.

On a penalty corner in the 16th minute, the ball bounced off the sticks of four Tigers before Alexandra Fiorina dumped in an impressive goal.

"We kind of had to weather the early storm," Cal coach Shellie Onstead said. "They came out to a fast start and did pretty well, we really had to step up when Pacific scored and take it back."

Five minutes later, the Bears made most of the scoring opportunity lingering right around the corner. Danya Sawyer passed the ball inbounds, Pooja Mehta set and Nora Feddersen provided the explosives.

Feddersen's shot from the 15-meter stripe was a missile through defenders and directly on goal.

The boom of the ball striking the backstop hushed everyone for seconds, before the crowd erupted in cheers. One fan summed up the entire scene, mouthing "wow" and shaking her head in disbelief.

That began a string of four unanswered goals for Cal. Feddersen set up Erin Booth's first goal of the season in the 40th and Mehta added another in the 54th.

"There were moments of brilliance and some that weren't too good," Onstead said. "(Pacific's) really come a long way.

Jenna Long replaced the injured Anita Reyes and played well, contributing her aggressive, hard-nosed style.

But with 14 minutes left, she went a little too far in the mind of the referee, who hit her with a yellow card and left the Bears shorthanded and jeopardized their two-goal lead.

Cal put the finishing touch on the win with a shorthanded strike in the last minute of the match.

Coming out of a timeout and down by one player, Lisa D'Anjou put in a cross for Alexandra Harkins, who nearly walked one into the cage for the final goal.

In what was a fairly even match, the Bears managed to show separation on the scoreboard, slowly chipping away at the tired Pacific defense.

"Jenna stepped in and played like a natural," Mehta said. "As a team I think we played well, we picked it up and pumped out goals. Good teams know how to pull out huge wins."

The victory was especially fulfilling for six graduating seniors who went out on a high note in their final home game for the regular season.


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