Field Hockey: Wildcats honor seniors in regular-season conclusion


Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

Senior midfielder Charlotte Martin handles the ball. Martin is one of the seniors who will be honored on Friday’s Senior Day.

Dan Waldman, Reporter

Field Hockey

In what could be the most sentimental game of the year, the Wildcats will face Penn State on Friday in their regular-season finale.

No. 16 Northwestern (12-6, 4-3 Big Ten) will honor its seniors for their last regular-season game at Lakeside Field, setting up an emotional match against Penn State (7-9, 3-4). Coach Tracey Fuchs said the seniors showed tremendous leadership this season.

“This is a very special senior class for me,” Fuchs said. “I mean across the board leadership-wise, they have changed the culture of our team. I think it will be a little bit emotional for them and for their families who will be here. But once the game starts, they’ll settle in and play good Wildcat hockey.”

Last weekend, the Cats left Ohio with a pair of wins over Ohio State and Ohio. Now NU has a chance to go into the Big Ten tournament riding a three-game win streak.

The Cats shut out the Buckeyes (9-8, 4-3) last Friday and held them to only two shots the entire game. Meanwhile, NU took 29 shots during the game and put 19 of them on goal. But Penn State put up similar numbers to the Cats when the Nittany Lions played Ohio State, attempting 25 shots.

Sophomore back Sophia Miller said the team wants to limit Penn State’s offensive opportunities.

“Penn State has a really solid midfield and really skilled forwards,” Miller said. “So we are looking to break them down early and often, especially before the 50 and the 25 — the crucial areas of the field — so that they can’t take advantage of their opportunities.”

NU has had an up-and-down season plagued with close losses — five of its six losses were by one goal — but the Cats remain optimistic for their game against the Nittany Lions and the Big Ten Tournament.

Junior forward and leading scorer Isabel Flens said the team has come a long way since the beginning of the season and that its newly found confidence will be critical in the upcoming games.

“We’ve been a lot more confident than when we started,” Flens said. “We had some losses that were really close, and we could have won maybe. But I feel like as we have become more mature, we will be able to fight to the last minute, and hopefully the game will end in our favor.”

The Cats endured early losses to ranked teams — Connecticut, Duke and Maryland — but the team has shown steady progression since.

Fuchs said she admires how the players did not give up on the season and how they continued to fight in every game.

“We’ve shown a lot of resilience in character,” Fuchs said. “We were down in some games and came back. They’ve done everything I ask. They work tremendously hard, and most of all they are really great people. So I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

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