Oct. 24, 2008
BERKELEY - Senior defender Carolina Bistue scored in her last regular-season home game to give No. 15 California a 2-1 victory over rival Stanford on Friday afternoon at Maxwell Family Field. It was a momentous day for the Golden Bears, who honored their 10 seniors on Senior Day. Senior defender Rachel Moffitt also set a new school record in career assists with 35, breaking the first-place tie she had held with two other players. The Bears improved their record to 12-3, while Stanford fell to 4-10 after the non-conference match.
Cal outshot Stanford, 8-2, in the first half; the Bears' first five shots were shots on goal. But Cardinal goalkeeper Alessandra Moss saved all five to help keep the game scoreless at halftime.
"It felt like we were dominant in the first half," Cal head coach Shellie Onstead said. "That seems like it's been typical of our team lately, in that we're doing everything right to create goals, but we're not quite finishing."
Both teams found their finishing touch in the second half.
Sophomore forward Natalie Nurnberg gave Cal a 1-0 lead, at 37:26, off an assist from senior forward Kellie York, who forged down the flank before passing to Nurnberg in the circle. That marked Nurnberg's seventh goal of the season and, added to her five assists, pushed her into second-place in scoring on the Cal team with 19 points. She is behind leading scorer Ashley Glosz, a senior midfielder/forward who has 24 points.
Stanford's Midori Uehara redirected teammate Bailey Richardson's pass into the circle to tie the game at 1-1 at 43:40.
A penalty corner set up the clinching goal by Bistue, a senior defender. York took the corner, made the stick stop and Bistue fired past Moss at 55:29 for her career-high seventh goal of the season. Moffitt, now the sole assist record holder at Cal, had briefly been tied for the record of 34 career assists with former Bears Megan Sainsbury and Valentina Godfrid. Today's assist also gives Moffitt a team-leading 14 this season.
Bistue has scored a career-high 17 points in 2008 to rank her fourth in scoring at Cal behind York, whose two assists give her 18 points (4 goals, 10 assists) for the year.
Cal senior goalkeeper Kelly Knoche made four saves for the game, while Moss ended up with six.
The Bears had the overall advantage in shots (11-9) and penalty corners (8-1).
"Our backfield played well," Onstead said. "The two players in the middle played well defensively handling Stanford's counters, because they come at speed. Natalie has done very well all year and had a very good game. And Kelly played well in goal."
Bistue, York, Moffitt, Knoche and Glosz were five of the 10 Cal seniors honored before the match as part of Senior Day. Cal's other seniors honored today were midfielder Gwen Belomy, midfielder Caitlyn Byrne, forward Katie Knoche, midfielder/forward Andrea Lo and defender Christina McGrath. All 10 started today alongside sophomore defender Sophie Sproats.
"It's always emotional," Onstead said. "I said to the them in the pre-game, `You take this moment. You think about the first time you put the jersey on and how far you've come and how far you've helped bring the program.' They've really, really contributed to making this a top-15 program."
"A lot of the team got emotional before the game," Glosz said. "I still remember my first home game here against Delaware four years ago. To think how far we've come since then, how far I've come since then, how far the program has come, we all felt the emotion today. But our team doesn't really think that it's the end because we have more games to play."
Today also marks the day on which Onstead, Cal's first field hockey All-American as a player in 1982, will be inducted into the California Athletic Hall of Fame. In addition, Onstead, along with six others, will be introduced on the field at the Cal-UCLA football game tomorrow in Memorial Stadium.
Cal plays its next field hockey game against the Cardinal in a NorPac Conference match at 1 p.m. on Nov. 1 in Stanford, Calif., before heading to Virginia for the third time this season for the Nov. 6-8 NorPac Tournament.
The Bears have already claimed the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament with that one conference game remaining. Even if they lose to Stanford on Nov. 1, at worst they could tie Pacific for the regular-season conference title if the Tigers defeat Stanford on Sunday, as Cal and Pacific would each have a 5-1 NorPac record. But Cal's head to head win over Pacific in a conference game earlier this month gives Cal the tiebreaker, the top seed and a bye on the NorPac Tournament's first day. Cal's first game of the tournament will be a Nov. 7 semifinal.
Goals by Period 1 2 F Stanford 0 1 1 California 0 2 2