BERKELEY – On Senior Day Sunday afternoon at Maxwell Family Field, freshman Sydney Earle and junior Lara Kruggel combined for three first half goals to lead California to a 3-1 victory over UC Davis to bring the Golden Bears back on the winning track in NorPac play.
Earle opened the scoring in the 12th minute for the Golden Bears (5-9, 2-3 NorPac) before the Aggies (4-10, 2-4 NorPac) evened the game just five minutes later via a Jamie Garcia goal. However, the Bears put the game away in the final five minutes of the first half with goals by Kruggel that were just three minutes apart in the 32nd and 35th minutes to give Cal the victory.
“It was a big day today,” California head coach Shellie Onstead said. “Senior Day is an important moment, and you want to make sure you send them off with a good game. We’re proud of how we did today. We finally scored some goals and played corners well.”
Before the game, California honored a trio of four-year starters in Shannon Elmitt, Jordan O’Reilly and Allie Swartz. The Bears seemingly used the ceremony and emotions to get an early start and attacked the Aggies constantly in the opening 35 minutes with six shots on goal in the period.
The hard work looked to pay off in the 10th minute when Clara Goni scored on a screamer, but after confusion on the field the goal was ruled off. The call didn’t affect the Bears, however, with Earle scoring her second goal of the season at 11:48 off a penalty corner taken by the senior Elmitt and assisted by Michaela Swensen.
The Aggies earned their goal also off a penalty corner when Garcia’s initially attempt was blocked, allowing her to slot the rebound into the cage to tie the score, 1-1.
Cal continued to press and struck goal at 31:42 when Kruggel scored off yet another penalty corner taken by Elmitt and assisted by Natalie Gibbens.
With the clock winding down, Kruggel was able to get a shot off in the final second of play, and she was awarded a penalty stroke when her shot attempt hit the foot of the last defender. With no time remaining on the clock, Kruggel scored the penalty stroke to give Cal the 3-1 advantage.
“We made some alterations in the midfield, and I think that worked out really well,” Onstead said. “We had perhaps the right people in the right place, and it was nice to have almost everybody healthy today.”
UC Davis pressed in the second half and nearly scored their second goal with three successive shots in the 59th minute, but California goalkeeper Courtney Hendrickson saved all three attempts in the six-second span to keep the Aggies at bay and earn the win.
Hendrickson finished the day with nine saves.
California travels to the east coast to take on Boston and Maine this coming weekend in Boston, Mass. The season finale is set for Thursday, October 31 in a NorPac rivalry match against Stanford. That game is scheduled to air live on the Pac-12 Networks at 3 p.m.