Field Hockey: Rapid Recap: Northwestern 2, Miami 1


Daily file photo by Esther Lim

Junior midfielder Maddie Zimmer. The Pennsylvania native played a key role on offense in Northwestern’s Friday matchup.

Charlotte Varnes, Sports Editor

The 2021 national champions are still in the hunt.

In its first postseason match in Evanston in program history, Northwestern defeated Miami (OH) 2-1 to secure its trip to the NCAA second round on Sunday. After a neck-and-neck first half, the Wildcats (18-4, 5-3 Big Ten) dominated the third quarter and took down the RedHawks for the second time in two weeks.

Here are some takeaways from Friday’s matchup at Lakeside Field. 

  • Competitive first half leads into scoreless halftime

When the Cats and RedHawks last met, things got off to a slow start. Neither program scored in the first quarter, and a lone NU goal in the second gave it a 1-0 lead at the half.

Friday’s storyline was similar. The programs were especially well-matched in the first half, with Miami recording seven shots to the Cats’ six and both goalkeepers tallying four saves. 

Despite the score, the Cats looked competitive from the start. Junior midfielder Maddie Zimmer took possession early on and streaked down the field, but nothing came of it. Senior midfielder Peyton Halsey was especially dynamic, tallying four shots and moving effortlessly on offense. But it wasn’t enough to kick NU’s offense into gear in the first half 30 minutes of play. 

As the Cats’ offense fought to break through, their defense held strong. Junior goalkeeper Annabel Skubisz was a brick wall, notching four saves, and the overall defense was credited with a save as well. She was dynamic off penalty corners, ensuring the RedHawks remained scoreless despite three penalty chances. 

  • Cats kick into gear in second half – but Miami did, too

NU loves a good second half comeback.

Entering Friday’s matchup, the Cats had outscored opponents 35-13 in the final 30 minutes of play. This trend continued on Friday, as NU came out swinging during the third quarter. The Cats dominated possession, looking at ease as they drove down the field and weaved past defenders. 

This energy was key to NU’s first goal of the game. After an electric first half, Halsey finally managed to get on the board. Awarded a penalty stroke, Halsey delivered a powerful shot that found the bottom right corner of the goal, putting the Cats up 1-0 about midway through the third quarter — the highlight of what seemed like an unstoppable offensive effort.

But the RedHawks answered with a goal of their own in the fourth quarter, knotting the score at 1-1. Despite offense looks and receiving multiple corners, NU couldn’t convert and score once more during regulation. 

  • The Cardiac Cats return

There’s just something about NU and free field hockey. 

Between the regular season and the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament, the Cats have appeared in six overtime matchups. Friday’s contest made it seven. 

The first overtime period featured plenty of back and forth, although NU primarily dominated possession. Zimmer directed the Cats’ offense, driving the ball down field and searching for chances. But few emerged, with NU unable to convert — including on a penalty corner attempt. 

Skubisz held strong on defense, coming up with a big save early on in the first overtime. Beyond that shot, the Redhawks’ offense made little happen during the period.

Knotted at 1-1, the Cats and Miami went to overtime. The second period was a similar affair, featuring a missed NU corner and a handful of offensive looks for each team. Unable to capitalize on three straight corners to end the second overtime period, the game went into a shootout. 

The shootout wasn’t simple, either. It initially seemed as though the Cats and RedHawks each scored three goals at the end of the penalty shootout. However, a lengthy review found that Miami hadn’t actually scored on its final shot. With that decision, the RedHawks went packing — and the Cats are on to the NCAA Quarterfinal.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @charvarnes11

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