When sophomore forward Marleise Emrhein scored her second goal Sunday for the Michigan field hockey team, it didn’t change much in terms of the game. The Wolverines were already up 9-0 on Central Michigan with less than 10 minutes remaining, and the outcome had long been decided.
But the goal came from an unusual scorer, one of many contributions from bench players Sunday.
Six different players scored for Michigan (1-0 Big Ten, 6-1 overall), and all 22 on the roster saw playing time against the Chippewas. And with tough matchups approaching this weekend against Ohio State and No. 4 Penn State, that kind of spread out attack is exactly what the Wolverines were looking for.
“We need everybody’s fresh legs,” said Michigan head coach Marcia Pankratz. “So getting experience and having people play in positions that we’re going to need this weekend was good practice for them.”
The bench players did more than just relieve tired legs, though. In the midst of one of the toughest stretches of their schedule, the Wolverines were given a confidence boost that could prove valuable in the long run.
“It’s actually really fun when the goals keep coming back and back,” said senior forward Courtney Enge. “We get more hype, and we know what the job is — we know that we need to stay cool and composed. But once we get more goals, it’s like we feel more comfortable and we have more confidence on the field.”
Added junior midfielder Katie Trombetta: “Being able to see everyone get thrown into these positions and keep the level of intensity and the style of play that we started with — no matter who’s in, the level is still the same.”
The 10 goals on Sunday were the most scored in a game by Michigan since 2013, and it came thanks to a diverse scoring output. Along with Emrhein’s offensive outburst, freshman midfielder Meg Dowthwaite earned her first career goal, while freshman goalkeeper Claire Stemper was called upon to preserve the shutout at the end of the game.
But even with the positive results the Wolverines enjoyed this weekend, the team knows the road gets harder from here.
“Obviously, winning 10-0, it’s a fun game,” Pankratz said. “But we still have to focus on the things that will make us better for the next match. So that was kind of the focus.”
Still, the experience gained by Michigan’s depth player’s left the team with a good feeling in the end. And if nothing else, that confidence has the Wolverines feeling poised to take on the next portion of their schedule.