BERKELEY – The California field hockey team opened preseason camp Wednesday morning at Maxwell Family Field in preparation of the 2013 season.
“It’s really nice to get going,” California head coach Shellie Onstead said. “That last week you’re just anticipating the start. It’s great to get the first day out of the way so that the kids can relax now and get into it.”
The returners mixed with the freshman class of 11 for the first time on the field as the Bears began to work together and begin to establish the team chemistry needed to make a run at a second NorPac title in three years.
“It’s a fun moment because you get to see how they’ll fit and where they’ll fit,” Onstead said of the freshmen. “I’m really impressed with them. I’m happy with where they’re starting. There is a lot of possibility for all of the freshmen. They’re in a really good place. They just have to get after it.”
Another new face on the pitch Wednesday was newly-hired assistant coach Malachi Mahan as well as volunteer assistant Jill Dedman. The new coaching staff got the day off to a strong start by working on basic skills in the morning session before holding a short scrimmage along with team building exercises at the end of the morning session. The team then worked on more specifics in Wednesday’s afternoon session to end a successful first day of camp.
“Change is good for them because they are unfamiliar with a new coach,” Onstead said of the team working with Coach Mahan for the first time. “That might get them more focused. They’re excited to see what he will bring to the field so it’s a good thing to have him here.”
The Golden Bears open the season against Michigan State on Friday, August 30 in Palo Alto. Cal’s first game at Maxwell Family Field will be on Friday, September 6 against Dartmouth. Scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., that game will air live on the Pac-12 Networks.