Field Hockey: Wildcats split another weekend in Michigan

Mike Marut, Senior Staffer

No. 9 Northwestern (11-5, 5-1 Big Ten) traveled to Michigan for the second consecutive weekend and again split its two games, this time losing to No. 14 Michigan (10-5, 5-1) and beating Michigan State (8-7, 3-4).

On the statistics sheet, the Wildcats struggled in their fight against the Wolverines, losing out in every significant category. NU only racked up seven shots on the day, five on goal, tallied only five penalty corners and scored only 1 goal. Michigan, on the flip side, had 12 shots, seven on goal, and scored 2 of those along with 11 penalty corners. According to NU coach Tracey Fuchs though, the stats did not fully represent what happened on the field.

“They don’t tell the true story of the game,” Fuchs said. “Michigan had a lot of repeat corners. It was a great game going back and forth, but then they were in control late in the second half.”

The Cats struck early with a goal from sophomore Dominique Masters after only 7 minutes and 36 seconds had passed in the game. After that goal though, the attack seemed to stall and would bounce back and forth with the Wolverines. Despite the lull, NU still had heart.

“We were ready to come out fighting,” Masters said. “We knew it was going to be a really tough game, and we were ready to go. It just didn’t go our way in the end. We fought until the end, but we fell short a couple of times. In the end we kind of let calls dictate the game. Every single person was fighting all the way.”

The loss fueled the fire for the Cats against the Spartans. According to Masters, the team had something to prove after the loss to the Wolverines.

“It was a statement game,” Masters said. “We were kind of proving we should’ve come out on top against Michigan. We just wanted to prove that against Michigan State. We had (Michigan State) in our line, and we executed corners really well. They tried to get back in it after the first half and scored 2 goals. That was a wake-up call for the second half that we needed to fight back and got some insurance goals.”

NU ran the field against the Spartans, striking early and often. 3 of the 5 total goals for the Cats came in the first 17 minutes of play with Masters, junior Lisa McCarthy and redshirt sophomore Lauren Bernardi all netting the ball. Bernardi’s goal was her first of the season.

In the second half, Michigan State struck first, getting 2 goals within two minutes of each other. After those goals, NU took control of the game and coasted to another conference victory and scored 2 more insurance goals in the process.

“We wanted to get ourselves back on the right foot after (Michigan),” Troncelliti said. “We worked together well with our passing and helped each other out getting back (on defense). We got back into our game.”

Fuchs was also pleased her team bounced back after the loss to Michigan.

“It was a big game for us to come back after the loss,” Fuchs said. “(Against Michigan State) we really wanted to finish everything. We had some great goals and our corner execution was really nice.”

Because of the loss to Michigan, the Wolverines and Cats are tied for the best conference record but NU drops to No. 2 in the conference. Since NU lost the head-to-head matchup, Michigan is No. 1.

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