Hoosiers leave Evanston in tears after loss

Abraham Rakov

Northwestern sophomore Christine Nannicelli brought Indiana players to tears after scoring a game-winning overtime goal on Friday, but it was the Wildcats on the brink of tears after a stunning 4-3 loss to New Hampshire on Sunday.

The NU field hockey team (7-7, 1-2 Big Ten) won its first Big Ten match of the season Friday when Nannicelli scored an empty net goal in the 15th minute of overtime, leading the Cats to a 2-1 victory.

“The opportunity was there and someone had to capitalize on it,” Nannicelli said. “You have to capitalize on those opportunities if you want to win.”

The Hoosiers (8-6, 0-4) scored first in the 16th minute of the game on a goal off a penalty corner.

Ten minutes later, NU senior Candice Cooper scored on an assist from sophomore Meghan Small tying the score at one.

It was the last time either team would score in regulation.

“Our defense refocused on what they needed to do,” NU coach Kelly McCollum said. “Our offense helped us by not turning the ball over and giving the other team chances.”

Earlier in the week the Cats learned defensive starter, junior Rachel Cody will likely be out for the year after suffering a leg injury in practice.

Even with the defensive roster adjustments McCollum was forced to make, NU outshot the Hoosiers 15-12, earned four more penalty corners and had to make seven fewer saves in the game than Indiana.

“When we lost a defender for the season, we knew we all had to work harder,” senior Morgan Kuhn said. “We returned to the defense we know how to play.”

The win improved the Cats’ all-time record to 8-0 against the Hoosiers.

On Sunday the Cats welcomed 19 former players, including members of the 1994 Big Ten championship team.

But the alumni did not see the same success they enjoyed during their playing days.

The Cats fell 4-3 to New Hampshire (2-11) on a game-winning goal with 23 minutes remaining in the game.

“We lost our leadership (Sunday),” McCollum said. “We didn’t have the urgency to finish.”

The Cats dominated the first half on

Sunday, with Cooper scoring two goals and freshman Cassie Miller adding a breakaway goal and an assist.

But the Cats did not score after halftime and New Hampshire turned the 3-1 halftime deficit into a 4-3 lead with a flurry of goals in a three and a half minute stretch in the middle of the second half.

“We let things fall apart,” sophomore goalie Sherri-Anne Nyberg said. “It can never happen again. We have to play our hearts out for all 70 minutes.”

Although Cooper scored twice in the first half she, along with the rest of the offense, did not have the same success in the second.

“We did get some (penalty) corners, we just couldn’t finish,” Cooper said. “We got out of our normal possession play, passes weren’t there and we just were not connecting.”

With 3:53 remaining, McCollum took out Cooper, the team’s top goal-scorer and offensive captain, and replaced her with sophomore Wenny Ng, who had one goal all season.

“(Cooper) wasn’t doing her job and wasn’t finishing plays,” McCollum said. “We lost our leadership (Sunday).”

NU outshot New Hampshire by 10, had to make nine fewer saves, and received three more penalty corners.

In the second half, New Hampshire only recorded three shots, all of which were goals.

“My team needs to learn how important every minute is and not to underestimate opponents,” McCollum said. “I’m shocked we have not learned that yet.”

Reach Abraham Rakov at [email protected]



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