Field Hockey: Northwestern bounces back against Richmond Sunday after first loss of the season against Iowa


Seeger Gray/Daily Senior Staffer

Fifth year forward Bente Baekers passes the ball to a teammate on the field. Baekers earned her 75th goal Sunday, making her the second player to ever earn that statistic in the program.

Skye Swann, Assistant Gameday Editor

Northwestern found its rhythm early into the second period of their match-up against Richmond Sunday at Lakeside Field, courtesy of senior midfielder Alia Marshall’s quick thinking inside the circle.

Within seconds, Marshall batted the ball in, connecting with graduate forward Bente Baekers for a two-goal advantage. This quick lead was only a premonition for the rest of regulation against Richmond.

The Wildcats (9-1, 0-1 Big Ten) ultimately defeated the Spiders (5-4, 2-0 CAA) 5-0, getting back in the win column after suffering their first loss of the season to Iowa on Friday. NU executed their game plan against Richmond, showcasing diversity on the offensive end of the field.

In total, four different players got on the board, as Baekers led the pack with two goals. The fifth-year has played a central role in the Cats’ offense this season, notching 15 goals thus far in 2022. She also cemented her place in the history books during Sunday’s game, becoming just the second player in program history to score 75 career goals.

“Bente is a scorer,” coach Tracey Fuchs said. “She knows how to find the back of the net. She’s got a world class shot and I think the people around her really support her well.”

Aside from NU’s offensive success, the squad was consistent on the defensive end. With leaders such as Marshall and fifth-year back Kayla Blas inside the circle, Richmond struggled to find any momentum. The Cats limited the Spiders to only 10 shots and three corners the entire game — a statistic Fuchs called “phenomenal”.

By the second half of the game, the Cats were rolling without signs of slowing down. The offensive end was up three, and the Spiders were struggling to keep up with the transitions in the centerfield. Junior midfielder Maddie Zimmer said the squad practiced this Saturday after their loss to the Hawkeyes.

“We weren’t very strong on transition Friday, but that was a point of emphasis in practice Saturday,” Zimmer said.

In the fourth quarter, NU experienced some challenges from Richmond inside the defensive circle. The Spiders were able to grab a last-minute penalty corner in an attempt to get one goal on the board. But the squad wasn’t phased at all, denying their opponents the opportunity to get near the cage.

Baekers and Zimmer agreed that the team’s close relationship off the field has led to a stronger bond on the turf as well. With Baekers and Blas returning for their fifth year, Zimmer said she “can’t wait” for the future of the season.

NU will return to action this weekend, facing Big Ten foes Penn State and Maryland at home. Baekers said the squad is ready to get back on the field and looking forward to taking on these competitors.

“Against Iowa, we weren’t there and we didn’t play how we wanted to play,” Baekers said. “But we can’t stay sad forever, and we bounced back. We’re back in the race and ready to play.”

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