Rapid Recap: No. 5 Northwestern 4, No. 20 Delaware 1

Girls+in+black+uniforms+all+hug+each+other+on+the+green+field

Daily file photo by Kelsey Carroll

Northwestern field hockey players celebrate after a goal. The Wildcats advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Skye Swann, Assistant Sports Editor


Field Hockey


Northwestern defeated Delaware 4-1 Friday to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

At Karen Shelton Stadium in Chapel Hill, No. 5 Northwestern squared off against No. 20 Delaware in its fourth appearance in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. With this victory, the Wildcats advance to the second round for the first time since 2017.

Behind two goals from redshirt sophomore Bente Baekers, and two more from sophomore midfielder Peyton Halsey and freshman midfielder Maddie Zimmer, NU will head to the national quarterfinals Sunday against No. 4 Iowa.

The Cats played with high intensity from the beginning of the game, scoring a goal four minutes in, courtesy of Halsey.

NU’s defense soon kicked into high gear and shut out Delaware for the first quarter. Freshman goalkeeper Annabel Skubisz was a key contributor to the Cats’ tight defense, blocking all eight shots on goal.

The second quarter ended up scoreless, even though NU held possession of the ball.

But the Cats’ shooting wasn’t an issue for long.

At the start of the third quarter, NU opened the half quickly, extending their lead to 2-0 with a goal from Baekers at the top of the circle. Earning her thirteenth goal of the season, the Netherlands native ended NU’s 38-minute scoring drought.

Four minutes later, NU’s offense struck again with a goal from Zimmer, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

With only ten minutes remaining, Baekers opened with another goal off of an assist from senior defender Christen Conley. Baekers’ second goal of the game would be her ninth consecutive one in the past seven games of the season.

Although Delaware was silent for majority of the game, they attempted a comeback with a lone goal from junior back Grace Hoepfner.
NU held the Blue Hens off for the remainder of the quarter to claim the squad’s victory and advance into the second round of the tournament.

Takeaways

1. Baekers finds the back of the cage
The redshirt sophomore guard earned her fourteenth goal of the season in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Following a Big Ten Tournament in which she secured a goal in each game, Baekers showcased her dynamic scoring ability in the matchup against Delaware. Through these big scoring moments in the game, like notching two goals, the Big Ten Second Team nominee once again proved her ability to lead NU offensively.

2. Skubisz is the piece to NU’s defensive puzzle
Heading into the first round of the tournament, the freshman goalkeeper saved shots at 77 percent in the season. She racked up three shutouts in conference play and held the Blue Hens scoreless until late in the fourth quarter. Even though the Houston native allowed one goal in Friday’s matchup, she blocked all five corner attempts from Delaware, reinforcing the Cat’s strong defensive unit.

3. Northwestern to face Iowa
The Cats swept the Hawkeyes, a No. 4 seed, in regular season play at Lakeside Field. Iowa earned one of the three at-large available bids into the tournament after losing to No. 2 seeded Michigan in the Big Ten Semifinals. Iowa’s offense runs through senior forward Maddy Murphy, who has seven goals on the season. The Hawkeyes finished the Big Ten season 5-3.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @sswann301

Related Stories: 
Field Hockey: Northwestern to face Delaware in first round of the NCAA Tournament
Field Hockey: Northwestern clinches berth in 2021 NCAA Tournament
Field Hockey: No. 3 Northwestern fell in overtime to No. 7 Ohio State in Big Ten Semifinals

Comments