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Field Hockey: Puck Pentenga nets two goals in 6-1 win

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Field Hockey: Puck Pentenga nets two goals in 6-1 win

Puck Pentenga closes down on a opponent. The senior midfielder scored two goals and had two assists against Ball State.

Puck Pentenga closes down on a opponent. The senior midfielder scored two goals and had two assists against Ball State.

Daily file photo by Alison Albeda

Puck Pentenga closes down on a opponent. The senior midfielder scored two goals and had two assists against Ball State.

Daily file photo by Alison Albeda

Daily file photo by Alison Albeda

Puck Pentenga closes down on a opponent. The senior midfielder scored two goals and had two assists against Ball State.

Charlie Goldsmith, Sports Social Media Editor

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Field Hockey


After the last 70 minutes of Northwestern’s regular season, coach Tracey Fuchs looked at the score sheet in her hand to figure out just how dominant senior midfielder Puck Pentenga had been.

Pentenga’s final stat line against Ball State — eight shots, two goals and two assists — was one of the biggest reasons the Wildcats believe they can advance far into the Big Ten Tournament, despite entering as the seventh seed.

In its final postseason warmup, NU (9-9, 3-5 Big Ten) beat Ball State (2-14, 2-3 Mid-American) 6-1 on senior day, and the players left the field wearing purple “Beat Michigan” pins in anticipation of this weekend’s Big Ten Tournament matchup.

“(If) she keeps playing her game, we’ll all keep playing our game,” sophomore forward Lakin Barry said. “And then we’ll just win.”

Both of Pentenga’s goals came off penalty corners that came too fast for Cardinals goalkeeper Grace Chavez to react to in time. In the 43rd minute, she received the cross from the corner and immediately launched it into the top left corner of the net, and then with four minutes left in the game, directed a fastball into the bottom left corner for her team-high 11th goal of the season.

The Cats scored an additional goal after another one of Pentenga’s penalty corner shots, which was blocked by Chavez and tapped in by sophomore forward Mackenzie Keegan. Pentenga ended the game with as many goals as Ball State had shots.

Barry added two goals in the first half, and senior midfielder Eva van Agt tallied her fifth goal of the season within the first period of the contest as well.

“We wanted to get back in our winning column, and we wanted to get goals,” Pentenga said.
“We’ve been playing really, really well the last couple of games but we just couldn’t
get the wins. Today was about getting the win, playing loose and getting some goals.”

NU never trailed in its last match of the season, which was only tied for the first 7 minutes. After Friday’s 2-1 loss at No. 2 Maryland, Fuchs saw this as an opportunity to figure out the team’s offensive strategy against a lesser opponent before the Big Ten Tournament.

Last season, NU entered the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 4 seed and the No. 10 ranked team in the country, and the Cats avoided playing Michigan, the eventual conference champions, until the semifinal game.

NU lost that matchup 2-0, fell again to Michigan 3-0 in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament, and lost again this season 3-2 on September 28.

“We have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” Fuchs said. “We’re going in as the 7th seed. All the pressure’s on them, so I just want our players to relax and play.”

After being held to just one goal in her last game against Michigan, Pentenga said she understands how her responsibilities have to change now that NU has reached the postseason. On Sunday, seven players attempted a shot on goal, but Pentenga said she knows how aggressive she has to be in NU’s first postseason game.

“If the forwards get corners, then I do what I can,” she said. “(I) get the ball in the cage and
get tips and then everyone gets in for tips and rebounds. For me it’s getting balls in the cage as quick as possible for those penalty corners.”

Email: charliegoldsmith2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @2021_Charlie

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