BERKELEY – For the second time this season the California field hockey team (4-4, 1-1 NorPac) was pushed into a shootout position after playing 100 minutes of action. Fortunately for head coach Shellie Onstead’s team, junior goalkeeper Courtney Hendrickson once again came up big Friday in leading the Bears to a 2-1 double-overtime victory over Pacific (2-7, 0-1 NorPac) to earn Cal’s first NorPac win of the season.
The two teams went into the shootout tied at 1-1 with Cal’s Lara Kruggel scoring in the 17th minute and Pacific’s Kelsey Gulledge scoring in the 42nd minute. However, once it came down to the penalty stroke shootout to decide the winner, Onstead needed to think no further back than the season opener against Michigan State when Hendrickson held the Spartans to just two goals through nine penalty stroke rounds.
Thankfully, the Bears sank three of their five attempts Friday night to prevent the shootout from going as long as it did the last time with Cal taking a 3-1 edge to defeat the Tigers. Hendrickson – who posted six saves in regulation – conceded only the first penalty stroke to the Tigers before preventing Pacific’s final three attempts.
“I feel very confident in a shootout because of our goalkeeper,” Onstead said. “The shootout format now favors the goalkeeper more. Courtney is really good at it, so it takes a little pressure off the scorers when it doesn’t take as many goals to win. I’m always confident in the shootout (with Courtney).”
The teams were forced into a shootout after two opposite halves led to both teams scoring a goal while attacking on the east end of Maxwell Family Field. The Bears struck first when Kruggel scored her second of the season at 16:48 courtesy of a penalty corner taken by Monica Marrazzo and stopped by Natalie Gibbens.
Marrazzo took the penalty corner due to senior Shannon Elmitt missing the game due to an injury sustained against Stanford last week.
“We’re relying heavily on several freshmen,” Onstead said. “They’ve had to respond and did great. Monica had to fill in Shannon’s shoes today, which are big shoes to fill. She did a great job.”
In the second half, the Tigers put one on the board at 41:01 thanks to a Gulledge shot off of a deflection.
Neither team earned much of an advantage in the two 15-minute overtime periods, leading to the shootout that was won when Clara Goni scored her penalty stroke.
“(The game) was closer than I would have anticipated, only in that we were really excited for this home game and wanted to make sure that we had moved on from last week,” Onstead said. “It turned out to be a really great contest. Pacific was very strong in the second half. They got it to a tied game and a shootout. Luckily we’ve been working on shootouts quite a bit.”
The Bears will face the Tigers yet again in just two short days. California and Pacific meet again Sunday in a game that will be televised live by the Pac-12 Networks at 12 p.m.
“We’ll have a little training tomorrow to work on finishing and stuff inside the ’25,” Onstead said. “We’ll be ready to go Sunday.”