Field Hockey: Wildcats end overtime curse, beat Ohio State in dramatic fashion


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Kirsten Mansfield looks upfield. The sophomore defender and the Wildcats beat Ohio State to open their Big Ten slate.

Joseph Wilkinson, Assistant Sports Editor

Field Hockey

Nine Northwestern matches had gone to overtime since the start of the 2015 season. Almost impossibly, all nine ended in defeat for the Wildcats.

On Friday, that unlikely streak was snapped. Junior midfielder Eva van Agt scored the winning goal against visiting Ohio State (3-3, 0-1 Big Ten) with seven minutes left in the extra period to secure a 3-2 victory.

“In overtime, its six-on-six, both teams are going to have opportunities,” coach Tracey Fuchs said after the game. “We finally, once we got into the circle, were a little bit calm, and Eva was able to finish today.”

That goal clinched NU’s first conference win of the season. The stat sheet — 18 penalty corners to six, 22 shots to 15 — implied a clear advantage for the Cats (5-3, 1-0), but for much of the match the result was in doubt.

The hosts opened strong and were rewarded nine minutes in when sophomore midfielder Lily Katzman poked in a loose ball after a corner.

“I’ve been in the right spot at the right time but I’ve just missed it in the last couple of games,” Katzman said. “It was really exciting to finally put one in.”

That, however, would be the only corner on which NU scored on the day, and its inability to finish around the net allowed Ohio State to take the lead. The visitors controlled play through the start of the second half, picking up two goals off corners during that stretch.

Only three minutes after the second Buckeyes goal, the Cats struck back with senior forward Pascale Massey, setting Katzman up for her second goal of the game to level the score at two.

“I remember seeing Lily Katzman on the far post, and we’ve really been working on getting there,” Massey said. “I just passed it across to her and she got it in and I was so happy to finally be back in it.”

From that point forward NU dominated the game, applying constant pressure down the right side of the field. Massey, van Agt, junior midfielder Charlotte Vaziri and senior defender Sophia Miller controlled play as the Cats attempted 11 second-half shots.

Still, the winning goal proved to be elusive, as Ohio State’s defense held firm and Buckeye goalkeeper Liz Tamburro made six saves in the half. But even with missed chances piling up, the hosts remained composed.

“I don’t really get worried with our team. We usually always put it in at the right time,” Katzman said. “I was trusting in our teammates, and we did it when we needed to. We ended up finishing, and that’s what matters most.”

That patience, of course, was rewarded in the end with van Agt’s overtime game-winner.

Though Ohio State actually controlled the opening minutes of overtime and finished with more shots in the period, it was van Agt’s shot off an assist from Massey that pushed the Cats over the finish line.

“It’s been a long time coming for us,” Katzman said. “We’ve been working hard in practice and everything, so finally putting it away was exciting.”

Twitter: @joe_f_wilkinson