By David Borghard, For the Daily
Published October 29, 2012
With the completion of the regular season officially in the books, the No. 14 Michigan field hockey team finished on a positive note with a 1-0 shutout victory over Central Michigan on a cold Sunday afternoon. After a rough start to the regular season, the Wolverines were able to collect themselves, and this victory pushed the team’s winning streak to six games.
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“We are definitely very happy with the way the regular season has finished,” said junior forward Rachael Mack. “From getting off to a tough start we have really meshed well together as a team and have really brought everything to each game.”
Freshman back Aisling Naughton tallied the lone goal of the match at the 4:59 mark. Her goal exemplified her standout rookie campaign. The goal is Naughton’s eighth of the season, and she leads Michigan with three game-winning goals.
“It was great to get the win,” Naughton said. “It was an important win for us today. It gives us the confidence to get the ball rolling. We have watched film and practiced hard for what awaits us next in the tournament.”
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Haley Jones earned the shutout victory. She only had to stop one Central Michigan shot on goal midway through the first. The shutout was Jones’s fifth of the season and she has proven to be a superb goalkeeper and the backbone of the team.
“Haley is an absolutely super keeper, and everyone has so much faith in her,” Naughton said. “It’s great to have her on the sides.”
The entire team has acknowledged Jones’s efforts in net. Jones hasn’t been afraid to get out on a shot all season. The Wolverines will continue to learn from this game to prepare for what awaits them in the Big Ten Tournament.
“Haley Jones in goal has been a key element to our success as she’s made some great saves under pressure,” Naughton said. “And some of the freshman have really stepped up and been forced to learn the college game real quickly.”
Added Jones: “Each person knows their role on the field now, so as long as we play our game and stay mentally fit, I’m confident what we can accomplish.”
With the final regular season game in the past, the Wolverines look ahead to the postseason. They will kick off the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday in Iowa City. The team is seeded third in the annual conference tournament and opens up the first round against No. 6 Ohio State.