By Arman Kassam
No. 20 Stanford Field Hockey (12-4, 4-0 America East) travels today for a clash against UC Davis (6-11, 0-5 America East), marking the second game between the two teams during the regular season. Last time these two met, the Cardinal wiped the floor with a 5-0 victory, also securing the 130th career victory for Stanford head coach Tara Danielson. This entire season has been chock-full of glory for the indomitable Cardinal, and the squad currently holds a four-game winning streak.
Stanford has also won 12 of the past 13 games, including an astonishing upset against No. 6 Michigan (12-5, 7-1 Big Ten) and two 3-2 victories over Bay rival Cal (5-10, 2-3 America East).
Sunday’s match against the Golden Bears began with a determined and hopeful Cal seeking redemption for their last defeat, but everything changed when Stanford’s sophomore forward Corinne Zanolli attacked. Zanolli scored one goal in the fifth minute and another in the second half to make for an unbelievable total of 23 goals this season (second in the nation). Junior defender Nina Randolph also put one in Cal’s net to crystallize the Cardinal lead throughout the game — a recurring theme in many of Stanford’s bouts against other conference teams. The offense was undoubtedly stellar on Sunday, but as usual, junior goalkeeper Kelsey Bing stole the show. With a flurry of gravity-defying saves, interruptions to the Golden Bears’ breakaways and last-minute blocks, Bing proved that her impervious bulwark is the foundation of Stanford’s success.
Although the bout against Cal was another well-earned victory for the Cardinal, coach Danielson had a different perspective. “There’s always room for improvement,” said Danielson. “[Next time] I’d like for us to start on our toes instead of our heels.”
The Aggies have not had as much luck this season. For the past five games, UC Davis has suffered intraconference losses, including a 1-2 loss to Pacific (9-7, 5-3 America East) that ended in shootouts. That being said, the Aggies have offensive talent that need to be reckoned with. UC Davis’ freshman midfielder Eline van den Bosch leads the team with 19 points and eight goals this season — more than half of her shots are on target. Senior attacker Nica Taglieri also demonstrated that she was a formidable force after assisting every goal in the Aggies’ 3-0 shutout victory over Central Michigan.
In the most recent Aggie game against Pacific this past Sunday, UC Davis’ Tatiana Arias and Shea Gavin applied offensive pressure that forced saves from the Pacific defense. UC Davis also shows some potential on the defensive side with junior goalkeeper Chelsea Bigelow, who made eight saves on Sunday’s game for a career total of 257, only 12 saves lower than the team’s all-time record. That being said, the odds are looking good for the Cardinal, especially after coming off of a winning streak against some of the toughest contenders in the conference. Stanford has taken 19 of the past 20 games against the Aggies, and the Cardinal’s game-winning synergy between offense and defense does not look like it’s going away any time soon.
This showdown, also the second-to-last regular season match for Stanford, will take place on UC Davis’ turf at 3:00 p.m.
Contact Arman Kassam at armank ‘at’ stanford.edu