BY MAX COHEN
For the Daily
Published October 20, 2012
After dominating the entire first half, the No. 15 Michigan field hockey team held on in the second half to defeat Indiana, 4-3, in Bloomington on Friday.
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Freshman forward Aisling Naughton gave Michigan an early lead, scoring from in front of the net off an assist from junior forward Rachael Mack just three minutes into the game.
After the early goal, Michigan continued to dictate the pace of the game, keeping the ball in the Hoosier end and outshooting Indiana by a margin of 8-1 in the first 20 minutes of the game.
“I was really pleased with how we came out,” said Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz. “We played really disciplined and we executed very well in our form today.”
The Wolverine pressure paid off once again after freshman back Lauren Thomas scored in the 21st minute off of a penalty corner, with assists coming from sophomore back Leslie Smith and senior forward Liesl Morris.
“Corners win or lose games. We converted them well today and that’s what won us the game,” Thomas said.
Despite their lackluster play in the first half, the Hoosiers put themselves right back in the game at the start of the second half.
Indiana scored just seven minutes into the second half off of a deflection from forward Emily Bowker. Less than two minutes later, forward Morgan Fleetwood tied the game off of a penalty corner.
With the game tied, Michigan immediately went back on the offensive. Thomas converted another penalty corner just a minute after the Hoosiers tied the game. But the Wolverines couldn’t shake the Hoosiers, as a goal from Indiana forward Nicole Volgraf off of a breakaway tied the game at three.
“It was a little bit of a wake-up call and we wanted to win so that drove us through to the end of the game,” Thomas said.
Sophomore Michigan midfielder Axelle Wouters received the wake-up call with just under 18 minutes remaining in the game, scoring off a penalty corner after receiving the pass from Thomas, giving the Wolverines a 4-3 advantage.
Michigan fell back on defense for the remainder of the game, preventing Indiana from tying the game for a third time and sealing the victory.
“Indiana did a nice job putting a lot of pressure on us at the beginning of the second half,” said Pankratz. “We settled back in and we played our match and passed well and controlled the end of the match which was nice to see.”
The win came at a crucial time for the Wolverines, as they have won three games in a row, improving to 3-2 in the Big Ten. With the conference tournament looming ahead and an NCAA Tournament birth on the line, Pankratz is pleased with the team’s momentum.
“We’re playing pretty well and we’re hoping that the NCAA will see that we have good momentum,” Pankratz said.
Michigan looks to continue its winning streak in their final home game of the season against Miami (Ohio) on Sunday.