Nov. 5, 2011
The California Golden Bears are headed to the NCAA post season after defeating the Stanford Cardinal, 1-0, in the NorPac Tournament championship game. Goalkeeper Maddie Hand was named Tournament MVP.
The Bears first chance to score came five minutes into the game when Cal had the first penalty corner of the game. Sophomore midfielder Shannon Elmitt had a picture-perfect insertion to junior defender Deanna Kennedy. Kennedy's stick-stop set up senior defender Erin Magill who smashed a shot into the goal to give Cal a 1-0 lead.
In the end, this would be all the offense that Cal would need as the defense stepped up and created the second-straight shutout, with Cal having dispatched the tournament's other No. 1 seed, Longwood, the day before with a 3-0 score.
"We knew it would be a close game," said head coach Shellie Onstead. "We were prepared for it this time. We were persistent throughout the whole game. We didn't have those couple of minutes that were off. Frankly, I think we are peaking at the right time and we are ready to make a deep run."
California senior goalkeeper Maddie Handhad a busy afternoon with nine saves, five of them coming in the second half when the Cardinal posted 11 shots.
Hand's back-to-back shutouts earned her Tournament MVP honors. Also making the all-tournament team for Cal were Lara Kruggel, Allie Swartz, and Deanna Kennedy. Kennedy had also been Onstead's selection for the team's Player of the Match.
"Deanna had a phenomenal game yesterday. I was a little afraid she might have shot her energy. I knew if she could put two together, we would be fine. She did. I am super proud of her.
The victory sends Cal back to the NCAA Tournament play-in game for the first time since 2006.
"For awhile, I was taking going to the NCAA Tournament for granted, and I will never do that again," said Onstead about how happy she was to be making a return to the tournament. "It's awesome and I am just really happy for our players. I am especially happy for our seniors."
The Bears have earned a spot in the NCAA play-in game, which is also held on Tuesday, Nov. 8. They will take on the Richmond Spiders, winner of the Atlantic-10 tournament earlier on Saturday. The Bears and Spiders will play at 11 a.m. at Maxwell Family Field in Berkeley. Tickets for Tuesday's game will be $5 Adults and $3 Seniors, Youth, and Students with ID.
The Cardinal, who came into the game ranked No. 6 in the country, had defeated Cal in the two regular-season meetings, accounting for two of the Bears' three losses on the season. The Cardinal still have a chance to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. They will learn their fate on Tuesday, Nov. 8 when the 16 team tournament field is announced.