When: Noon PT
TV/Online: Pac-12 Networks (online for subscribers only)
Whether you call it The Big Freeze on Land, The Big Stick, or simply just another The Big Game, the next addition of Cal - Stanfurd athletic bout is upon us and it is on TV (Pac-12 Networks). The two best field hockey teams in the West (and only two of the regular Pac-12 members) will play the first of two regularly scheduled match today in Berkeley.
Although Furd (6-4, no. 13 in the rankings) does have a better record and ranking than the Bears (4-6), the Bears did win the last meeting between the two, in the NorPac Championship game for the automatic NCAA bid last year. Bears were able to win that game behind tournament MVP, Goalkeeper Maddie Hand, who has since graduated. Likely in Goal for the Bears today is Freshman Joelle van Hoorn, from Vught, the Netherlands.
Cal Athletics had a Q and A with van Hoorn recently:
CalBears.com: Do you have any nicknames ?
JH: Jo or Jojo.
CalBears.com: What are you most proud of?
JH: My international debut in the Europacup in 2011 and winning the Dutch National Championships with my team in 2010.
CalBears.com: Do you have a pregame ritual?
JH: I always chew gum.
CalBears.com: What made you come to Cal?
JH: The quest for new adventures and great experiences!
Let's hope that Jojo add beating Furd at home to her list of "great experiences" at Cal today.
Here are some stats: Van Hoorn's GAA (goals allowed average) of 1.17 and save percentage of .760 are first in the NorPac. Nationally, the GAA is good for sixth and save percentage ranks 16th.
In fact all 4 of the Bears' losses this season so far has been by just one goal against tough ranked teams (Maryland, Northwestern, Drexel) at home or a slightly less tough team (Indiana) on the road. Here is how Cal and Furd did against common opponent this season:
Cal against Maryland (defending NCAA champs): L 2-1, Northwestern: L 1-0, Drexel L 3-2 (OT1)
Furd against Maryland: L 3-2 (OT2), Northwestern: L 4-1, Drexel W 2-1
For whatever that's worth, that's the same goal differential (-3 goals) for both Cal and Furd in those three games.