- Erin Kirkland/Daily
By Chloe Aubuchon, For the Daily
Published October 20, 2013
Rachael Mack set the Michigan record for most career goals. As the overtime game winner. Against Ohio State. As a Michigan field hockey player, you can’t ask for much more.
More like this
In a hard-fought overtime game, the 19th-ranked Wolverines field hockey team (2-2 Big Ten, 9-6 overall) pulled off a 2-1 victory over Ohio State in Columbus. In addition to adding a conference win to their record Sunday afternoon, the Wolverines celebrated the enormous success of senior forward Rachael Mack, who netted both goals for Michigan and secured her place as the Wolverines’ all-time leading goal scorer.
The offensive star recorded her 69th career goal in the sixth minute of sudden-death overtime play. Mack hit the right side of the net after receiving a long pass from redshirt junior midfielder Lauren Hauge, dodging a defender and ripping a shot from an open area at the top of the circle.
Michigan came out strong in overtime, starting off the scoring opportunities with an early penalty corner followed by a high shot by redshirt junior back Leslie Smith. The Wolverines secured the win with Mack’s record-breaking goal.
“It feels phenomenal,” Mack said. “It’s something I’ve been working towards since my freshman year, so to actually achieve it today is the best feeling in the world.”
The Wolverines got off to a rocky start when they gave up the first goal of the game less than 13 minutes in. Ohio State maintained its one-goal lead for most of the first half, seeing little pressure from the Michigan offense in that time. A deflection into the net by Mack off a pass from redshirt junior midfielder Sammy Gray with just 32 seconds remaining in the half finally gave the Wolverines the momentum they needed.
“It was great timing because we got it right at the end of the first half,” Mack said. “Being able to tie it up was very motivating, and it helped with the confidence of the team going into the second half.”
In the second half, Michigan came out with a newfound intensity and sense of urgency. The offense awakened, recording 14 shots in the second half as opposed to just three in the first.
“We refocused on what the game plan was and the players really executed that in the second half,” said Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz. “They came out on fire and really motivated to play at their best.”
The Wolverines also played a solid game on defense, allowing just five shots through both the regulation and overtime periods. Defenders succeeded in marking their opponents and staying in front of the Buckeyes near the net.
Despite its control of the second half, Michigan couldn’t capitalize on any of its shots or corner opportunities and the game went into overtime.
The Wolverines came into the game aware that a win would not come easily against this particular Ohio State team. Although Michigan led the all-time series, which now stands at 33-26-2, coming into Sunday’s game, it has dropped four out of its last five meetings in Columbus.
Coaches and players alike also knew that both teams would bring their best play even before the game began—a product of the rivalry between the two schools. Green and yellow cards against both teams as well as a tiring back and forth battle that left the Wolverines relying on fresh legs off the bench highlighted the intensity of the game.
“It was a big team win where a lot of players got to contribute,” Pankratz said. “We’re very well conditioned and to be able to rotate like that kept our tempo really high.”
When a game enters overtime, the team mentality must change. Each player must be more aggressive, more urgent, in every fight for possession. In the end, it was passion and the desire to win that put Michigan on top of Ohio State.
“It’s a battle of heart, essentially,” said redshirt senior goalkeeper Haley Jones. “That’s what really comes in, who’s more passionate about the win, who really wants it.”