Field Hockey: No. 11 Northwestern shines in a 6-0 over Indiana in the final game of the regular season


Daily file photo by Alison Albelda

Saar de Breij watches Shannon Daley hit the ball. The senior midfielder played her last regular season game for the Cats on Friday.

Gabriela Carroll, Reporter

Field Hockey

They’re in the endgame now.

No. 11 Northwestern destroyed Indiana 6-0 in their final game of the regular season. After a scoreless first quarter where the Wildcats seemed shaky offensively, the team took advantage of their scoring opportunities en route to a lopsided victory. And, to add to NU’s great weekend, Iowa defeated Michigan on Sunday to give the Cats the third seed in the Big Ten tournament.

NU (13-6, 5-3 Big Ten) had possession on its offensive half of the field for almost the entire first quarter, but could not seem to score. Despite taking seven shots, the Cats kept missing tips and shooting balls wide. But two penalty corner goals in the second quarter helped break that streak.

“We were getting shots, we were attacking from the end lines, we were getting people in front of the net, diving, and that’s all you can ask,” coach Tracey Fuchs said. “It didn’t happen in the first quarter, but I knew if we just kept on it and if everyone was down and ready, we’d be able to grab some goals.”

Fuchs said executing on penalty corners is important if NU hopes to make a run in the tournament. And on Friday, the Cats showed off the versatility of their penalty corner attack.

For the first goal, with leading scorer and usual target freshman Bente Baekers on the bench, junior forward Lakin Barry took the shot from the top. Freshman midfielder Ana Medina Garcia deflected her hit upwards and into the back of the net.

Later in the game, NU scored two goals off the traditional stick-stop corner with a Baekers shot from the top. They also ran the play with sophomore midfielder Maren Seidel, which led to the final goal of the game. After Seidel’s initial hit, inserter and senior defenseman Kirsten Mansfield cut to the post and passed the ball in, capping off senior day with the third senior goal.

Every senior played Friday, and three seniors, midfielder Saar de Breij, midfielder Lily Gandhi and Mansfield scored.

“Everyone was ready to celebrate the day, celebrate our season and just defend our turf,” Mansfield said.

The Cats also took advantage of second chances, with all three seniors scoring off of rebounds. de Breij took the initial shot, but the Hoosiers’ goalie dove and blocked it. Freshman midfielder Alia Marshall took another shot that bounced off the stick of an Indiana defender and came right back to de Breij, who lifted it just over the defender’s stick to score her ninth goal of the season, a career high.

Gandhi’s goal came barely a minute into the third quarter. Baekers missed a shot, forcing the Hoosiers’ goalie to dive, and Gandhi got the rebound. It was Gandhi’s first goal of the season.

“My first goal of the season! I’m normally defending, so it was good to get a goal,” Gandhi said.

“Not the last one of the season,” de Breij said.

“Hopefully not the last one of the season!”

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