The Cal women’s field hockey team pulled off one of the toughest wins of its entire season on Labor Day, beating Indiana in a close 2-1 victory. The Bears are now one game above .500 (3-2) as they head into this weekend.
“Everyone played a really complete game, so it was really exciting,” said Cal head coach Shellie Onstead.
The first half of the game was all about the Bears and their ability to drive down the field. Junior forward Sydney Earle led the offensive charge for the Bears against the Hoosiers, scoring the first goal of the match during the sixth minute of the first half. Cal was very efficient with the opportunities that came its way Monday, especially when considering the fact that Indiana outshot the Bears in the first half, 8-3.
But it was the defense of the Bears that was truly the story against Indiana. The Bears were led by their redshirt sophomore goalie, Kori Griswold, who finished the match with six saves. Freshman Keats Iwanaga followed in suit by providing two defensive saves for Cal, leading the team in this category.
“We gave Kori Griswold player of the game, and she definitely deserved it,” Onstead said.
The Bears carried over their strong play into the second half, with junior forward Nicole Henriksson scoring Cal’s second goal in the 42nd minute, which came off an assist from freshman forward Janaye Sakkas. The Hoosiers began to pick up their offense from this point on, so this goal would later prove to be critical for Cal. Indiana freshman midfielder Charlie Kaste was the first player to strike for the Hoosiers, scoring in the 60th minute off a deflected save. Senior forward Rachel Stauffer continued Indiana’s offensive attack, finishing the day with four shots, but none were able to make it into the net. Indiana’s offense was definitely present throughout the entire game, but the defense of Cal was just too tough to overcome for the Hoosiers.
Cal is beginning to play more cohesively — as can be seen with this win against Indiana — which is significant, considering that five out of 11 starters for the Bears were freshmen. This was seen Monday when it came to passing, entering enemy territory and feeding their open teammates. This simple fact that many Bears have not played with one another has been a hump the team has been trying to get over early in the season. These freshmen, however, are continuing to gel with the veterans on this team as the season progresses, which was noticeable in the win over the Hoosiers. The impact these freshmen have made this year has been substantial and goes beyond what’s shown on a box score.
“Once you get into the season, there’s only so much you can accomplish,” Onstead said. “So we definitely played very well when considering the fact that we only had about a week to work on stuff.”