The Daily Californian Online

Wacky Weekend Sees Multi-Day Game for Bears

By Catherine Nguyen
Contributing Writer
Monday, October 18, 2010
Category: Sports > Fall > Field Hockey

For Cal coach Shellie Onstead, Friday and Saturday were the "weirdest two days" she's ever had.

Sure, Cal prevailed in penalty strokes to defeat Fairfield (8-7) in a 3-2 decision, but it took not just extra periods, but days to finish the contest.

With the Bears leading 2-0, Fairfield scored two goals within seven minutes of each other in the second half to force the match into overtime. Junior Marit Westenberg and senior Amanda Sullivan both notched goals to foil the Bears' chance for a shutout victory.

"I was surprised we let them back in the game at 2-0," Onstead said.

The match did take a strange turn after that. With a deadlock after the first overtime, officials decided to suspend the game since it was getting too dark to play.

"I wasn't sure how to pursue it," Onstead said. "It was a logistical challenge to get it done, but when it all came together we had a place to play, and we thought it was important to finish it."

Play resumed on Saturday at 12:30 p.m., at Providence College. But even the second overtime wasn't enough to decide a winner.

"Their approach, both in regulation and in overtime, was to play everybody on defense and really get the numbers on their side," Onstead said. "We were having trouble with that, so (the extra day) gave us the chance to talk about it, and I expected today to go a lot better. We did well in terms of getting into the circle but we just couldn't get it in."

"We spent time on penalty strokes and that really paid off. I was very proud of the strokers." Onstead said. "You can practice it all you want but when you stand up there with the game on the line and your heart's pounding, it's a bit different."

One major factor for the Bears' triumph was junior Maddie Hand, whose solid defensive presence more than just alleviated the pressure on the offense.

"Maddie made three saves in five strokers. That's pretty unique," Onstead said. "I usually tell my goalie, 'Just get one to get us the advantage and we'll do our part on the offensive side.' She took care of us."

On Sunday, however, a winning road trip eluded Cal as the Bears fell, 2-1, to Providence. Onstead knows that records don't always indicate the quality of a team, and the Friars (4-11) proved her right.

"I thought we had things reasonably under control," Onstead said. "They came out the second half and made some good adjustments to get our midfield under pressure and did a good job of capitalizing on their chances."

Even with the loss, such an eventful weekend has Cal (7-7, 4-0 in the NorPac) geared up to close out the regular season against conference rivals.

"I think the team is a bit angry and I don't think that's a bad thing," Onstead said. "I think we can hopefully turn that into quality practices and focus on basic skillwork and finishing. If we can solve that, I think we should be ready by the time we get into NorPac."

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