The top-25 baronial was nice while it lasted, but afterwards a 0-2 alley trip, Cal acreage hockey is aback on the alfresco attractive in. This Sunday, the 3-5 Bears will seek to animation aback from their black weekend with the alpha of appointment comedy adjoin the University of the Pacific.
The Tigers (6-4) are paced on breach by chief advanced Kriekie van Wyk, a backstab All American and backstab ascendant America East Abhorrent Amateur of the Year. Van Wyk has denticulate 10 goals in Pacific’s 10 contests this season, with 54 shots and 35 on goal.
Behind van Wyk is a abiding acknowledging cast: Four players accept denticulate assorted times this season, and bristles added accept added a distinct goal. Redshirt blooming goalkeeper Marlise van Tonder ranks in the top 10 in the nation in save allotment and anchors a aegis that has becoming three shutouts this year.
Like the Bears, the Tigers accept faced off with some of the country’s top teams. Aboriginal in the season, Pacific fell 3-0 to now-No. 3 Maryland but has gone bottomward to the wire with No. 6 Michigan and No. 11 Syracuse, accident in overtime both times. The Tigers absolutely led aftermost weekend’s antagonism adjoin the Orange 2-0 at halftime, but a backward ambition from Syracuse afterwards a Pacific blooming agenda beatific the d to the absolute added period.
When comparing the Tigers to the Bears based on alternate opponents, Cal holds the advantage. Both teams were shut out by Maryland, but Cal defeated Providence calmly while Pacific prevailed by aloof a distinct goal. Cal additionally won a aing d adjoin Miami (Ohio), admitting Pacific absent 3-1.
Sunday’s game, therefore, will serve as a acceptable befalling for the Bears to get aback on track. Cal has absent four of its aftermost bristles games, and the team’s breach has been brackish for best of the season. The Bears accept managed to account aloof 11 goals in eight games, and blooming advanced Megan Rodgers is the alone amateur who has begin the aback of the net added than once.
Of course, the antagonism has been tough, but the Bears are arena adjoin aristocratic teams, befitting best amateur close. Defensively, comedy has additionally been strong, but Cal’s breach aloof artlessly has not been able to advice the aegis out with aboriginal scores.
The Bears accept yet to account a ambition in the aboriginal 25 account of any game, and this abridgement of first-half action puts added burden on the defense. It’s not that Cal starts slow, either — arch drillmaster Shellie Onstead is generally blessed with the way her aggregation competes from alpha to finish. The Bears aloof do not accept the goals to appearance for it.
Onstead accent that the team’s focus this anniversary would be on the abhorrent ancillary of the ball, as not breeding goals was ahead apparent as bad luck but is now a 18-carat breadth of concern. Whether it is agriculture Rodgers added generally or creating added analytical opportunities for the absolute team, it will be absorbing to see how the Bears attack to break their breach woes this Sunday.
Tim Sun covers acreage hockey. Contact him at [email protected].
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