The Daily Northwestern

Field Hockey: Northwestern beats two ranked opponents at home 2-0

Puck Pentenga evades a defender. The senior midfielder leads the team in points through 12 games.

Puck Pentenga evades a defender. The senior midfielder leads the team in points through 12 games.

Daily file photo by Kate Salvidio

Daily file photo by Kate Salvidio

Puck Pentenga evades a defender. The senior midfielder leads the team in points through 12 games.

Andrew Golden, Assistant Sports Editor

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Field Hockey

Northwestern hadn’t played to its standards against ranked teams going into this weekend.

Before this weekend, the Wildcats were 2-4 against ranked opponents, only getting wins against then-No. 15 Stanford and then-No. 13 Boston College.

However, No. 14 NU (8-4, 2-0 Big Ten) proved that they could compete with the best this weekend, beating No. 13 Iowa and No. 25 California each by a score of 2-0.

On Friday, the Cats defeated the Hawkeyes (8-2, 1-1 Big Ten) for their second Big Ten win for the season after beating Indiana a week before.

NU had plenty of chances to score in the first half. After outshooting Iowa 4-3 and getting six penalty corners in the first half, the Cats still couldn’t break through until the second half.

On NU’s seventh penalty corner of the game and its first of the second half, a shot by senior midfielder Puck Pentenga was deflected and hit in by freshman forward Maren Seidel.

“We had a goal called back, but I knew we were getting our chances,” coach Tracey Fuchs said in a post-game interview on Twitter. “Our penalty corner execution wasn’t very good in the first half, so we really settled down and we were able to get that first penalty corner goal in the second half.”

Six minutes later, redshirt sophomore forward Lakin Barry gave the Cats some added insurance with a goal on a cross to double their lead. With the victory, NU has beaten the Hawkeyes five times in the last six seasons.

In the second game of the weekend against the Golden Bears on Sunday, Seidel’s offensive production and the Cats’ defense propelled NU to its second victory this weekend.

Just like in Friday’s game, the Cats took advantage of a penalty corner and Seidel scored off of a deflection of a shot from Pentenga. Seidel scored her second goal of the game with under 12 minutes left in the game.

With her big weekend, Seidel is leading the team with seven goals and has 14 points, second behind Pentenga.

“She had a great weekend,” Fuchs said. “She had a great corner goal today and even was bumped off the ball. That what we need. Our freshman need to play like juniors and our seniors need to play like pros.”

As well as the offense played this weekend, the defense has been impressive in the last two weeks.

After giving up 2.86 goals in their first seven games, NU has given up only two goals in their last five games.

“They’ve been playing really, really well,” Fuchs said after their win against Iowa. “They’re growing. They definitely have room to improve, but I was really happy with both sides of the ball today.”

The Cats will look to carry their two-game winning streak into next weekend as they face off against two conference opponents — Michigan and Michigan State.

“It’s anybody’s year for the Big Ten,” Fuchs said. “We’re going to give both teams a run for their money and we’ll be ready to play next weekend.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled the name of Lakin Barry. The Daily regrets the error.

Twitter: @andrewcgolden