BERKELEY - After completing a rigorous preseason camp at the United States Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, the Bears open the season with fierce tests against Fairfield and No. 18 Delaware. The Bears and Stags open the field hockey season Friday at 12:30 p.m. before the nationally-ranked Blue Hens come to the Bay Area for a Labor Day matinee at 11 a.m. Monday.
Both matches will take place at Stanford’s Varsity Turf in Palo Alto, Calif. Friday’s game will be a field hockey triple-header at Varsity Turf with Cal and Fairfield followed by Stanford against Delaware at 3pm and Pacific against Liberty at 6pm.
Friday’s Cal-Fairfield match will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks. In-game updates as well as live stats for both games will be provided at CalBears.com
CAL IN SEASON OPENERS Over the past 11 seasons, the Golden Bears are 7-4 in season-openers. The seven wins include a trio over ranked teams, including 2011’s 3-1 victory over No. 16 Louisville, a 3-2 victory over No. 8 Iowa in 2002, and a 4-3 victory decided on penalty shots over No. 6 American in 2006. Shellie Onstead is 12-7 overall in season openers at Cal.
RETURNING STARS The reigning NorPac West Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year return for the Golden Bears in seniors Lara Kruggel and Courtney Hendrickson. Kruggel was named the Offensive POY for the second consecutive season after leading the Bears in scoring with 15 points despite missing five games due to injury. Hendrickson had a stellar season in goal with a .791 save percentage to lead the Cal defense.
FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH Cal lost just three seniors from last year’s team, yet the Bears are still one of the youngest teams in the nation with 16 freshmen and sophomores on a 22-player roster. Despite the youth, the Bears still return eight starters from last year’s team.
BEARS CAMP IN CHULA VISTA Shellie Onstead’s team spent preseason camp at the US Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista where the team not only enjoyed preparing for the season at the home of USA Field Hockey, but also had the chance to participate in Navy SEALs training exercises taught by former SEALs. Additionally, the team took in a San Diego Padres baseball game on the last night in town where they met up with former Golden Bear Tyson Ross, a Berkeley native and pitcher for the Padres who was selected to the MLB All-Star game this season.
SCOUTING FAIRFIELD Picked to finish fourth in the America East … 11-7 overall in 2013 … Cal leads the series, 2-0 … In the last meeting on Oct. 15, 2010, Cal earned a 3-2 overtime penalty stroke-off win at Fairfield. After Erin Magill and Lisa Lohre put the Bears on top after 47 minutes, the Stags tied the game with goals in the 523rd and 60th to force OT. The Bears won the stroke-off 3-1 with the Stags unable to score past GK Maddie Hand on three of their first four attempts.
ONSTEAD ON FAIRFIELD “We have some freshmen that have shown up very well in the preseason as well as others that have waited in the wing. In the backfield, Lexi Collins and Mara Gutierrez have done well. Jamie Stankiewiz in the midfield is playing very well, as is freshman Paula Seibt.”
“Fairfield has upgraded in terms of their recruiting classes. They have a defender that scored a lot of goals last year, and we expect they have some surprises in store. They’re dangerous.”