LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Mercedes Pastor’s goal in the fifth minute of overtime lifted the 11th-ranked University of Louisville field hockey team to a 2-1 win over California in a rain-soaked contest Sunday afternoon at Trager Stadium.
With the score tied at 1-1 in overtime, the Cardinals (4-2) earned back-to-back penalty corners. After California goalkeeper Danielle Mentink turned back Pastor’s shot on the first corner, she quickly earned a second chance as the Cardinals were awarded a second corner. Junior Whena Munn got the corner started and senior Katie Walsh stopped the ball for the sophomore who maneuvered past a defender and rifled a shot into the left side of the cage.
“Very fortunate that we came away with a win,” said UofL head coach Justine Sowry. “Cal Berkeley came out ready to play today. They are a talented team, they have some very, very good individuals and it became very challenging for us. I think what was disappointing from my point of view is that we tried to outmatch them with what they’re good at, and we’re not good at it. So, we went away from our identity, Louisville field hockey, and that was really frustrating. I think when we try to play fast or try to press hard and chase hard and pressure hard, we then start to not play to our identity. That was disappointing, we played to their strengths and not our strengths.”
The teams played through 30 scoreless minutes before California (2-3) broke through. The first goal of the game came after a misplayed Louisville penalty corner which resulted in the ball slipping past the Cardinals’ attacking 25-yardline where it was picked up by a California player who sent the ball forward to Megan Rodgers. She sprinted toward the circle where she found Lindsay Mathison who collected the ball, spun past a defender and sent a shot into the cage to give her team a 1-0 lead with 4:36.
Unable to get another shot off in the first half, the Cardinals entered the break trailing 1-0 despite holding an advantage in shots (4-3) and corners (4-1).
In the second half, the teams continued to play mostly a midfield game with an early penalty corner opportunity for the Cardinals as Pastor’s initial shot was blocked. Cal responded with a corner of its own, but held on to a 1-0 lead for nearly 20 minutes.
Louisville finally got on the scoreboard at the 54:36 mark in the game. Freshman Taylor Orsi directed a cross from the near the right sideline to the middle of the circle where junior Whena Munn’s dove to redirect the ball into the cage for her first goal of the season to even the score at 1-1.
Each team had scoring opportunities with the Cardinals owning a 3-2 edge in corners and shots in the final 15 minutes of play, but the score remained knotted at 1-1 to force a 10-minute sudden-victory overtime period.
Cal went on the attack early, but senior goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran turned back Brynn Zorilla’s shot to hold the Bears at bay.
Louisville worked the ball back down to its attacking end and countered with back-to-back corners to set up Pastor’s game-winning goal.
“At half time, we addressed it, and we didn’t necessarily make those adjustments in the second half,” said Sowry. “We started to generate a few more opportunities. That was an outstanding tying goal from Whena Munn today. I thought her work on the pitch was fantastic. We were able to get into overtime, so fortunately we were able to execute the set piece at the end, but we made it much harder for ourselves than what it should have been.”
In the game, Louisville outshot Cal 11-7 and held a 9-4 lead in corners. McFerran had a pair of saves while Mentink collected four stops for the Bears.
The Cardinals (4-2) will wrap up their four-game home stand next weekend when they play host to a pair of top-13 teams. No. 13 Boston College visits Trager Stadium for an ACC matchup Friday at 6 p.m. followed by a tilt against No. 9 Northwestern Sunday at 12 p.m.
Assistant Sports Information Director
University of Louisville Athletics