Chico State field hockey shuts out Broncos in home debut

Chico+State+forward+Gavin+Risbry+blocks+a+pass+from+UC+Davis+in+this+archived+photo.+Photo+courtesy+of+Chico+Lax+FH+Photos.

Chico State forward Gavin Risbry blocks a pass from UC Davis in this archived photo. Photo courtesy of Chico Lax FH Photos.

The first home game of the season for Chico State field hockey could not have gone any better. The visiting Santa Clara University Broncos could not overcome an early lead from Chico State, ultimately losing 5-0.

Chico State set the tone by initially gaining possession of the ball and scoring quickly in the first half.

Wildcat forward Gavin Risbry made a move around a Bronco defender and shot the ball around the goalkeeper for the first goal of the game.

“I brought the ball up through the middle and I saw a clear open shot,” Risbry said. “I scored it, I was pretty excited. I didn’t think I was going to get it.”

According to Chico State head coach Valerie Meza the Wildcats had a slight home field advantage.

“We love it because it’s grass,” Meza said. “We play at school’s that have turf so it’s a little bit faster game for us. So it’s nice to play here, we can slow it down and work out a few of our plays that we want to use this weekend and weekends after.”

Another advantage Chico State had over Santa Clara was depth. The Wildcats had five more players than their opponent, allowing for more substitutions for tired players.

Coach Meza also believes another tactic helped her team win on Sunday.

“We had plenty of substitutes today, lots of conditioning, different lineup today than we had yesterday and it worked,” Meza said. “It was very successful.”

Another key factor in the game was the Wildcats defense. During the first half, Santa Clara only had three chances to score, but were quickly wiped out by Chico’s defense.

According to coach Meza the defense was key to the team’s win.

“Sam, Remmy and Claire back there and those gals, they really hold the team together,” Meza said. “They’re the soul of this team right here.”

Risbry also believed the defense had a tremendous game.

“Our defense is solid, we’re solid in the middle,” Risbry said. “We clear out the ball whenever the ball is in the circle. We just get them to the outside every time, it takes away every shot that they get.”

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Chico State field hockey scored five goals in their first home game of the year. Image courtesy of Chico Lax FH photos.

At the half, Chico had added two more goals and had a 3-0 lead. After the half, the Broncos put on the pressure, but Chico goalkeeper Jodi Steigerwald stood her ground.

Coach Meza also took notice of Steigerwald’s performance.

“Jodi is awesome, she’s one of the better goalkeepers I have seen at any level and we are very fortunate to have her,” Meza said. “She definitely leads the defense back there.”

Besides the shutout by Steigerwald and company, the other highlight was Gavin Risby’s second goal.

“I saw a clear open field and I got the right touches and I ran past everybody,” Risby said. “The goalie should have came out on the ball, but I snuck it in with one hand.”

The one-handed goal was more impressive because it’s not something Risby had never practiced or attempted in a game.

“I just got the touch on it and I scored the goal, it was pretty crazy,” Risby said. “I didn’t think I would get that one either.”

Chico got two more goals from forward Marissa McInerny in the second half to put the game out of reach for Santa Clara.

Chico State field hockey plays their next game on Sunday, Oct. 14 at Cal Poly Pomona.

Andrew Baumgartner can be reached at [email protected] or @abaum94 on Twitter.