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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Field Hockey: No. 3 Northwestern sweeps weekend homestand, extends win streak to 11 games

Micah Sandy/Daily Senior Staffer
No. 3 Northwestern knocked off its Great Lakes State foes over the weekend, defeating Michigan State and No. 15 Michigan to stretch its win streak to 11 games.

Deep into the fourth quarter against No. 15 Michigan, No. 3 Northwestern drew its 14th penalty corner of the game.

As sophomore back Maja Zivojnovic’s shot was blocked, the ball bounced toward senior midfielder Lauren Wadas.

“I was standing there ready for the pass just in case anything were to happen,” Wadas said. “But (the ball) came to me and I was like, ‘here’s the opportunity. It’s right there.’”

Wadas’ tomahawk shot flew past the outstretched Michigan goalkeeper and ricocheted off the post into the back of the cage. The Annville, Pennsylvania, native’s tally proved to be the lone point in Sunday’s contest, securing the 1-0 triumph for the Wildcats.

Although NU’s two games against its Great Lakes State opponents this weekend were polar opposite offensive displays, the ‘Cats emerged victorious in both. NU’s wins over Michigan State and Michigan maintained its perfect Big Ten record and nabbed the team’s 10th and 11th consecutive victories, extending the program’s first double-digit win streak since 1990.

“We’re really coming into our own,” coach Tracey Fuchs said. “We struggled a little bit scoring earlier in the season and our corner wasn’t quite where it needed to be because we lost some key players. Each day, we’re trying to get better and improve in those areas.”

Fuchs found her answer to the team’s corner dilemma in Zivojnovic, whose first season in Evanston was cut short after 11 games due to injury. Zivojnovic has replaced program legend and three-time All-American first team Bente Baekers as Fuchs’ go-to weapon on penalty corners. 

Coming off her first career hat trick against Princeton, Zivojnovic tallied two goals against the Spartans on Friday — both of which came on penalty corners. The Dutch international student has adapted well to her new duty, Fuchs said. 

“Her sweep, she can hit the ball, she can do everything,” Fuchs said of Zivojnovic. “Her shot is a little bit off the ground, which makes it really tough for opposing goalkeepers and defenders.” 

Zivojnovic’s score in the second quarter against Michigan State opened up the floodgates for NU, which proceeded to record a season-high six goals from five different goalscorers. A trio of freshmen — midfielder Ella Kokinis, forward Olivia Bent-Cole and back Ilse Tromp — joined Zivojnovic and graduate student midfielder Peyton Halsey on the scoresheet.

After losing one of the most acclaimed senior classes in program history, Fuchs lauded the trio for providing such immediate production since arriving in Evanston.

“We knew (Bent-Cole) would come in and really make a difference,” Fuchs said. “But to see how Ilse is really stepping up, taking the lead in the midfield and backfield. She might not have the stats, but she’s really communicating and is just a solid player who doesn’t lose the ball. And then Ella, I think she might have the goals per minute on the team. She’s really feisty, works hard and her skills are catching up to her speed.” 

Even with momentum from the six-goal effort against the Spartans, Fuchs and company knew the Wolverines would present a new challenge two days later, and a physical one at that. 

Much like the game against Michigan State, NU was the aggressor in the clash with Michigan. The ‘Cats constantly threatened the Wolverine defense in Sunday’s affair, outshooting the visitors 25-4. But despite the frequent attacking forays, NU was unable to find a breakthrough after three-and-a-half quarters. 

After 54 scoreless minutes, it was Wadas’ turn to play hero. The game-winning score was Wadas’ first goal of the season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Riding the momentum of 11 straight victories, Wadas said the ‘Cats are taking it one game at a time.

“We’re all playing great,” Wadas said. “We’re not looking too far ahead. Obviously, we know our goals in the end: Big Ten championship and national championship. But we’re taking it one (conference) game at a time, so we’re 4-0 in the Big Ten now and looking forward to Iowa next week.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @CervantesPAlex 

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