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Cal Field Hockey edged by No.21 Stanford 3-2 in America East conference play

I may have jinxed the Bears by saying that “I feel really good about this match” earlier.

Can home field advantage be the difference for the Golden Bears to beat rival Stanford this afternoon?
Cal Field Hockey Twitter

Stanford went ahead with two goals in the first half, despite constant barrage of attack by the Bears. Megan Rodgers eventually got her two goals but Stanford’s Corinne Zanolli also scored two goals and they got an additional goal. Bears had the chance to equalize with a power play late but couldn’t get ball control. It was also a weird 2nd half with 4 video review (new for the 2018 season).

Bears will next host UC Davis on Sunday, when they hope to snap the 6 match losing streak.


I would argue that Cal Field Hockey is probably the best 3-8 team in any college sports right now. The Golden Bears have played one of the toughest schedule in the country. Outside of a fluky 2-1 loss at Pacific, all 7 other losses for the Golden Bears have come against ranked teams - several of them saw the Bears with a golden opportunity to win, particularly the 1-2 (OT) loss at No.11 Louisville or the 3-4 (OT) loss to No.8 Boston College at a neutral site (Syracuse).

A good number of these losses to ranked opponents have come on the road. Golden Bears are finally back home this weekend when they host Stanford today and UC Davis on Sunday. That home cooking may just be the difference to put the Bears over on top.

Merely an year ago, Bears were able to beat rival Stanford from Underhill by a 4-2 final score. 3 of the 4 scorers for the Bears in that match are back - sophomore Megan Rodgers, seniors Melina Moore and Janaye Sakkas. Stanford were ranked No.14 then.

Both Moore and Rodgers are now in the Cal all-time goal scoring top-10 list with 27 career goals. Sophomore superstar Megan Rodgers will likely make a run at the top of that list by the time she is done at Cal. Rodgers is again the leading Cal scorer in 2018 with 10 goals (Moore is the only other Bear to have multiple goals with 3) and 3 assists (tie for team best with Lindsay Mathison and Femke Delissen).

For the goalkeeper spot, junior Danielle Mentink has been the starter but sophomore Natalie Dalton has been pressed into action more as of late. There may be a not-publicized-in-press-release injury to Mentink that has prevented her from playing in the most recent Syracuse match.

Stanford are coming off an 1-1 trip to Iowa where they defeated No.6 Michigan 4-2 only to be shutout by host No.10 Iowa 0-3.

Against common opponents, Stanford has lost to Iowa 0-3 beaten Pacific 2-1, Yale 5-0, lost to Syracuse 1-2 (OT), and lost to Northwestern 2-3 (2OT). Cal beat Yale 3-1, lost to Pacific 1-2, lost to Iowa 1-4, lost to Northwestern 0-2, and lost to Syracuse 2-4.

Cal, Stanford, Pacific, and UC Davis are in the western division of the America East conference. This conference name has continued to be amusing to me.

Stanford is also led by their own sophomore stud in Corinne Zanolli who has 16 goals and 6 assists on the year. 7 Cardinal have had multiple goals in their balanced attack. Junior Kelsey Bing is back inside the cage for them this year. A quick glance at their roster shows that only 2 players come from the state of California; by comparison 15 players on Cal’s team are from California, as the sport of Field Hockey continues it’s growth on the west coast.

It will not be easy, but if the Golden Bears can fulfill their potential (particularly if they can get solid goalkeeping play today), I can see another BIG victory over Stanford today. The next win for the program will be a nice and round 400th in history.

By the way, senior Janaye Sakkas on the team is into beekeeping when not playing field hockey. Watch her make the metaphor between how each class is slowly building the program toward winning a national championship to bees in a hive.

California Golden Bears (3-8, 0-1) vs. Stanford Cardinal (8-4, 1-0)

Where: Underhill Field (Berkeley, CA)

When: 4 pm PT

TV: Pac-12 Networks