Field Hockey: Northwestern falls in a shootout to Penn State, beats Maryland for the second time


Courtesy of Northwestern Athletics

Northwestern field hockey huddles before a game. The team won one of its games this weekend.

Gabriela Carroll, Web Editor

Field Hockey

Northwestern split the weekend’s slate of games in Virginia Beach, falling in a shootout to Penn State but topping Maryland 2-1 for the second time this season.

In Friday’s matchup against the Nittany Lions, the Wildcats (3-1) struck first, with senior forward Sabrina Solomen scoring in the second quarter with a hit from the center of the circle.

Penn State outshot NU 12-3 in the first half, but failed to score on any of those shots. The Cats’ defenders were formidable. With freshman goalie Annabel Skubisz in goal all weekend for her second and third starts, the defensive line kept many of the Nittany Lions’ shots from ever seeing Skubisz’s pads.

“It’s an experienced backfield,” coach Tracey Fuchs said. “We have four back, with Kayla (Blas) being the general as the defensive midfielder. For them to step up, and with (senior goalie Florien Marcussen’s) injury with a first-year goalkeeper in there. She has so much experience around her that it just made everything click.”

The Nittany Lions scored in the second half off a breakaway in transition, but NU kept the ball in their offensive zone for much of the half, outshooting Penn State 13-3. But much like the Nittany Lions in the first half, the Cats were unable to connect on any of those shots, and the game advanced to overtime.

In the overtime period, NU failed to take advantage of a penalty that left a Penn State player off the field for two minutes. The Cats drew a penalty corner, but couldn’t score with that chance, even with an extra player. The game advanced to a second overtime period in which neither team scored.

During the shootout, Skubisz made two saves, but three out of five NU players failed to score, and the Nittany Lions secured the win.

“That pressure at the end of the game, you just can’t replicate it at practice,” Fuchs said. “Certainly we’re going to work on that, and our goalie came up with two big saves, and that should be enough to win a shootout. We just couldn’t put a few home that we had our chances to put away.”

After the loss, the Cats needed to rally quickly for Sunday’s rematch against Maryland.

In their previous matchup, NU started slowly, allowing seven Terrapin penalty corners in the first quarter, barely settling into the game until the second. On Sunday, the Cats were aggressive offensively right off the bat. Though no goals were scored in the first quarter, the teams each took two shots.

NU scored its first penalty corner goal of the season in the second quarter, off a deflection from sophomore midfielder Ana Medina Garcia, to go up 1-0. But Maryland responded early in the third quarter to tie the game up at one apiece off of a shot from the top of the circle.

For a while, it looked like the Cats might again be playing extra minutes. But with just over six minutes left, sophomore forward Bente Baekers scored her first goal of the season in transition after a long one on one with her defender. NU held on to pull out their second consecutive win over the Terrapins, 2-1.

“That was a heartbreaker Friday,” Fuchs said. “You don’t get to win all the games that you deserve to win, so we really just tried to put it behind us, and look at what we did well and what we could improve on for Sunday. For our kids to come back and play as well as they did on Sunday and beat typically a top five team in the country is pretty impressive.”

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Twitter: @gablcarroll

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