STANFORD, Calif. – For the second consecutive season the California field hockey team opened the year with a neutral site overtime victory at Stanford’s Varsity Turf, but the Bears decided to end things a little earlier this time when freshman Alie Zimmer scored her second goal of the game to give the Golden Bears a 2-1 (OT) win against Fairfield Friday afternoon.
Last season, the Bears took Michigan State to double overtime and eventually won the game 2-1 on a penalty shootout. This season, Zimmer, who tied the game at 1-1 with her first goal at 48:20, gave Cal the game-winning goal less than three minutes into the first overtime period with her score at 72:26.
“It’s important on so many fronts for us to make sure we know we can get it done wherever we are,” Onstead said. “I was unbelievably proud of this group today. It was hot. It was tiring. It was a rough start like any first game of the year, but they were on task, persevered and learned about themselves.”
The win improves Cal to 3-0 all-time against the Stags and starts the season off on a strong note.
Fairfield opened the scoring at 26:09 when Anna Burgoyne took a cross from Julie de Paeuw from the left flank and slotted it past redshirt senior Courtney Hendrickson, who finished the game with three saves in the victory. The Stags went into the half with the 1-0 lead despite Cal holding a 9-3 shot advantage and 3-1 penalty corner advantage in what was a half filled with chances for the Bears.
“We had our chances but didn’t get them on goal,” Onstead said. “At least we’re getting better.”
Zimmer leveled the playing field 13 minutes into the second half after scoring a ball that was passed by sophomore Nicole Henriksson.
The Bears nearly won the game in the final second of regulation with a cross across the mouth of the goal that just missed the outstretched stick of a Cal attacker on what would have been an empty net.
In overtime, Cal was able to take advantage of a green card given to Fairfield’s de Paeuw just 45 seconds into the period. With the two-minute long 7-on-6 advantage, the Bears were able to find the opening they needed when Andrea Earle found Zimmer behind the defense for a 1-on-1 look against Fairfield goalkeeper Caitlin Bennett. Zimmer deked past a charging Bennett and slotted her shot into the goal for the 2-1 victory.
“That’s exactly why I wanted Alie to come to school here,” Onstead said. “She knows how to find that goal. She did her job!”
Bennett finished with five saves for the Stags. California finished the game with a 16-7 edge in shots.
The Bears return to action Monday morning at 11 a.m. when they take on No. 18 Delaware at Varsity Turf.