Field Hockey: Wildcats anticipate ‘battle’ with No. 9 Stanford


Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

Senior midfielder Charlotte Martin brings the ball up the field. NU takes on its sixth ranked opponent of the season on Friday and is currently 2-3 against these opponents.

Dan Waldman, Reporter

There’s no time to celebrate for the Wildcats.

No. 14 Northwestern secured a critical victory versus Iowa last weekend, which brought the Wildcats back to .500 in Big Ten play. But NU’s difficult schedule continues Friday when No. 9 Stanford comes to Lakeside Field in a battle of two top-15 teams.

The Cats (9-4, 2-2 Big Ten) and the Cardinals (8-3, 0-1 America East) will clash in NU’s second-straight game against a ranked opponent.

Cats coach Tracey Fuchs said Stanford has a similar playstyle to NU, but the Cats are adjusting their defensive scheme accordingly.

“They are solid all over,” Fuchs said. “We are very similar. They will come out with a little bit of a different lineup. They typically play with four in the backfield so we just made some adjustments but nothing major.”

The Cats started the game off strong versus then No. 18 Iowa (7-5, 1-2), and scored four unanswered goals. NU held the Hawkeyes to only four shots on goal, and the team is keeping an emphasis on defense for the Stanford matchup.

Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Lindsay von der Luft recorded a clean sheet last Friday and said that she wants the defense to play with the same mentality and intensity that they had in the Iowa matchup.

“We just want to play like we did versus Iowa,” von der Luft said. “We did a really good job on defense that game, especially keeping them out of our 25 as much as possible. We just need to continue that in the next game and keep getting better.”

The Wildcats have had an up-and-down season thus far and have suffered tough losses to Maryland and Indiana.

Senior midfielder Caroline Troncelliti said the team still uses the Indiana loss as a learning experience, and motivation for working on the team’s stamina.

“Playing the whole 70 minutes of the game will be huge,” Troncelliti said. “It is definitely going to be a battle. They are a top-10 team and we lost to them last year like 2-1, so I think if we stay in the challenge for the whole game then that will probably be the key.”

NU scored its first two goals in the Iowa game off of penalty corners — something the team has struggled with recently. But Fuchs said that penalty corners will play a pivotal part in the Stanford game as well.

“Stanford has played some really good teams this year and lost a few overtime battles,” Fuchs said. “So that’s another thing, we haven’t had any overtime games so we prepared a little for that as well. Again I think it is going to be two West teams battling it out on Friday and I think the team that converts on their penalty corners will come out on top.”

The Cats will face the Cardinal at 3 p.m. Friday at Lakeside Field.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @dan_waldman