Bears Advance to First America East Championship

LOWELL, Mass. – After going down two goals early to the top seed in the tournament, the California field hockey team survived a double overtime run thanks to a hat trick from the forward. Daniella Rhodes. Rhodes’ game-winner came in the 73rd minute of the second overtime in a 3-2 win over No. 1 Mass-Lowell at Wicked Blue Field on Friday afternoon.

For the second game in a row, the Golden Bears (11-7) were coming up against a team looking for its first win of the postseason, and in the second game, Cal denied its opponent. The Bears won their seventh game in a row thanks to the performance of Rhodes, who recorded his second hat trick of the season and fourth of his career.

“I always tell the team, no matter the score line it’s going to be a one-goal game,” Donna Fong Director of Field Hockey. Shelley Onstead said. “I’m very proud of the fact that they came back from two goals down and never panicked. It was the same situation as yesterday. I felt like both teams played very carefully in the first half, but we found out that it went behind them. The first goal.

Cal finished the day with 20 shots, 11 on goal. UMass-Lowell (14-4) tallied 11 shots and six on goal. Tina Jolly (11-7) was impressive in net for the Bears, finishing the day with four saves. He did not allow the River Hawks to score after their second goal early in the second quarter.

“The defense played well against the challenging schedule that Mass plays,” added Onstead. “Offensively, everyone did their part; the forwards played well. Daniella was great to score, but Kitty (Baccanello), Holly (Pears) and Bente (Baekers) played well. In the back, Tina made another save. We also played well. But I’m also happy with the way a player who plays in the middle. I thought Sophie Everett it was really good today. Kiki (de Bruijne) probably had his best game today, he played the whole game at a very high level. All in all we really enjoyed our performance.”

UMass-Lowell won the game early and had a chance to put the game away in the first quarter. In the ninth minute, the River Hawks broke the deadlock when Isabelle Halters bent the ball into the net for her sixth goal of the season. After Halters’ opening goal, Mass-Lowell appeared to score two more goals. However, both goals were reversed, allowing the Bears to catch their breath as the first quarter ended.

At the beginning of the second half, the River Hawks made it 2-0 with Madison Leeper’s goal in the 18th minute.

From there, Cl’s offense came to life. The Bears got shots on goal Sophie Everett, Holly Pears, and Rhodes but just couldn’t find the back of the cage. Cal kept up the pressure, rarely letting the ball back into their half. At 23 minutes, the Bears broke through. Rhodes scored his 17th goal of the year on a penalty corner, blasting a shot from the top of the circle. Cato Geusgens again Claire Hind thank you for helping.

Five minutes later Rhodes struck again. The all-conference player drove the ball to himself and sent a shot into the bottom left corner of the cage for his 18th goal of the season and tied the game at 2-2. After falling behind 2-0, the Bears outscored the Riverhawks 5-1 in the second quarter.

In the third period, Marie Oliemans (7-2) took over the goaltending duties for Mass-Lowell. Cal quickly tested him 50 seconds into the quarter with a field goal Merel Hansen. The River Hawks regained momentum briefly in the third, outscoring Cal 5-3. In the fourth, the Bears again put a lot of pressure on the hosts, finishing with an 8-0 victory. Pairs was hunting for a game winner and had three shots late but couldn’t get one past Oliemans.

In the first overtime period, the River Hawks had a good chance for the game-winner, earning a penalty corner in the 66th minute. However, C’s defense was up to the task and didn’t allow Mass-Lowell to shoot. A few minutes later Halters picked up a loose ball in the circle and sent a shot to Jolly, who recorded the save.

The goal was still tied at 2-2 in the 73rd minute and Rhodes scored again. He received a pass on the left side of the circle and beat two defenders before firing from the right side of the wing past Oliemans to complete the hat trick.

“I’m very happy that we played two complete games in a row,” said Onstead. “I’m looking forward to tomorrow and I’m ready to compete on Sunday.”

Cal will face No. 2 Albany in Sunday’s championship game. The championship game is scheduled to begin at 9 am PT and will feature live video and stats for fans to follow.


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