Field Hockey: Wildcats extend winning streak to 6 with back-to-back overtime wins


Kate Salvidio/The Daily Northwestern

Sophia Miller moves the ball upfield. The senior defender scored the game-winning goal in No. 9 Northwestern’s win over No. 22 Iowa.

Brett Haensel, Reporter

Field Hockey

Northwestern certainly likes to keep its fans on the edge of their seats.

The No. 9 Wildcats (12-4, 5-1 Big Ten) extended their winning streak to six with weekend overtime wins over No. 22 Iowa (5-10, 1-5) and No. 24 Massachusetts (11-5). NU’s resume now includes victories over six ranked opponents.

The Cats were no strangers to overtime battles entering the weekend, having already played in two earlier this year, and coach Tracey Fuchs said she has grown confident in her team’s crunch time mettle.

“We’re battle tested,” Fuchs said. “We’re confident now going into overtime, and I couldn’t say that when the season started. But now I really think we’ve come into our own, and I know we can score goals.”

NU began the weekend slate with a trip to Iowa City, where star junior midfielder Puck Pentenga shined again. Pentenga was the team’s offensive catalyst against the Hawkeyes, scoring a hat trick in the win.

However, Iowa gave the Cats everything they could handle, finishing a late goal to send the game to overtime. From there, NU seized the game, notching a goal just five minutes into the extra period to win a game it controlled from the very beginning. The Cats outshot the Hawkeyes 17-7, setting the stage for another prolific effort against Massachusetts.

NU thoroughly dominated the Minutemen in the first half of play, holding Massachussetts without a shot while attempting 11 of its own on goal. It wasn’t until the closing minutes of the first half, though, that the Cats finally capitalized on their strong play with a goal from junior forward Pascale Massey.

Massey noted that her team-leading ninth goal was key for NU’s confidence heading into the second half.

“It brought a lot of momentum into the second half,” Massey said. “To come in halftime going up is really important for any team.”

The Cats picked up right where they left off, controlling play and racking up five more penalty corners in the second period. But even with 16 more shots on goal than the Minutemen in regulation, NU could not secure the goal it needed for insurance.

The Cats then conceded another late equalizer, as the visitors scored with just over a minute left in regulation to send the game to overtime.

Eight minutes into the second overtime period, sophomore defender Kirsten Mansfield slapped home the winning goal off a rebound from a penalty corner.

“We don’t give up,” Mansfield said. “We just keep on going full force. (The ball) rebounded off the goalie, and I was just able to finish it in off the rebound.”

Mansfield’s heroics kept NU undefeated at home, moving the team to an impressive 7-0 at Lakeside Field.

But the Cats will have to stay focused as they continue battling for a conference title, with perhaps their biggest game of the season yet coming next Friday against No. 3 Michigan, currently undefeated in Big Ten play.

“Next Friday night we’re basically playing for a chance to win a Big Ten title,” Fuchs said. “We’ll be ready. It’s going to be a great match, and we’re excited to go down to Ann Arbor and play our hearts out.”

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