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Field Hockey Falls to California in First Round of Playoffs

In the Battle of the Bears, with Maine (13-7) as the No. 2 seed in the East and California (5-12) as the No. 3 seed in the West, faced off in the quarterfinal round of the America East Conference playoffs. The Black Bears traveled to the West Coast, looking to seek revenge after a 3-1 loss at home on Sunday, Oct. 16 against the Golden Bears. They were unable to accomplish the feat, losing the contest 3-2.

Much of the first half included tremendous defensive play and several missed opportunities on penalty corners, where Maine had two and California had five. Second-year midfielder Casey Crowley was assessed a green card at 16:19 and had to sit out for two minutes, but the Golden Bears were not able to capitalize on this opportunity.

The Black Bears finally opened the scoring at 31:49 of the half, where fourth-year forward Danielle Aviani scored to give her team a 1-0 lead, assisted by first-year midfielder Lilla Tilton-Flood. This was Aviani’s seventh goal on the season.

Maine went into halftime with the one goal lead, finishing with seven shots and three on goal, while California had 10 shots and five on goal.

Redshirt third-year goaltender Emma Cochran started for the Black Bears, while first-year goalie Danielle Mentink started for the Golden Bears. Cochran made five saves in the half and Mentink made two.

Maine Head Coach Josette Babineau brought her other redshirt goalkeeper, third-year Emily Corbett, into the game to play the second half.

California answered Maine’s late first half goal with an early second half goal at 39:31, as fourth-year forward Nicole Henriksson scored to tie the game at 1, assisted by redshirt second-year back Katrina Carter. This was Henriksson’s second goal on the season.

Maine was finally able to convert on their sixth penalty corner of the game from second-year back Ella Mosky at 45:33, as Aviani scored for the second time to reclaim a one goal lead for her team, assisted by second-year back Samantha Wagg. This was Aviani’s eighth goal on the season.

At 59:50, California took a timeout to regroup and find a way to score the tying goal. Aviani was assessed a green card when she tumbled over Mentink after a shot on a breakaway opportunity that forced her stick to fly out of play and Mentink left the game, leaving the Golden Bears with an empty net.

California was given a penalty stroke opportunity at 63:37, as second-year back Keats Iwanaga scored to tie the game at 2. This was Iwanaga’s third goal on the season. Mentink then came back into the game and Henriksson went off.

A few minutes later at 66:48, Carter scored to give the Golden Bears a 3-2 lead. This was Carter’s fourth goal on the season. Maine then pulled Corbett from the game, leaving them with an empty net.

Iwanaga was given a green card at 68:36, having to sit on the sideline for the remaining 1:24 of the contest. The Black Bears were not able to use that to their advantage and ended up on the losing side of a tight game.

Maine finished the second half with seven shots and seven on goal and California had 11 shots and four on goal. Corbett made one save in the half and Mentink made six.

The Black Bears unfortunately end their season seeing a team with a much worse record get the better of them and advance in the postseason. The University of California advances to the semifinal round of the America East Conference playoffs, returning to action on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 3 p.m. against the University of Stanford.

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