The Michigan field hockey team snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat Friday, beating Penn State in overtime, 2-1.
But on Sunday, the Wolverines’ luck ran out as they fell, 5-1, to No. 7 Maryland in the Big Ten Tournament championship.
Maryland, coming off its own double-overtime victory over Northwestern, started fast Sunday on its way to a 5-1 victory. Forward Wilma Luus opened the scoring just over two minutes into the game for the Terrapins.
The Wolverines responded with three straight penalty corners but were unable to convert any of them. Though Michigan created good pressure, Maryland added another goal to its lead with 18:16 left in the half on a counterattack.
Michigan got on the board when redshirt sophomore forward Allie Sardo controlled a loose ball in the Maryland circle and scored with 6:13 left until halftime.
“I think we knew it was going to be a game with its ups and downs and we had to play 70 minutes,” Scavelli said. “They got on the scoreboard first, but we’ve had games where that has happened in the past. We know you have to play to the last whistle, so we just tried to keep that in our mind and keep playing.”
In the second half, the Terrapins dominated possession. As the Wolverines had to take more chances as time wound down, Maryland was able to take advantage of those risks. Michigan ran out of luck after a thrilling win to advance Friday
In that game, Michigan had the advantage in both shots and penalty corners in the first half but went to the locker room in a scoreless tie.
“I think we were just pressing a little bit,” said Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz. “We were a little bit overanxious in the circle, but we were dominating and not getting a lot of chances. I think as you go longer and longer without scoring, you get a little bit more tense.”
Just three and a half minutes into the second half, a Penn State player went down inside the Wolverines’ circle. The following corner opportunity gave the Nittany Lions their best chance of the game. The initial shot was saved by sophomore goalie Sam Swenson, but Penn State forward Kirsten Gochnauer pounced on the rebound and slotted it into the net for the game’s opening goal.
Michigan was unable to find an answer, and Swenson came out of her net as time wound down to make a save. A Penn State player knocked off Swenson's helmet, and Swenson responded by lashing out at the legs of the culprit. Nittany Lion forward Aurelia Meijer retaliated, took a red card and was ejected from the game.
With 1:16 left in the game, Swenson went off for freshman midfielder Leah Cardarelli so the Wolverines could have an extra attacker.
Twenty seconds later, senior forward Shannon Scavelli’s shot rebounded off the Penn State goaltender, and Cardarelli tapped the ball into the net to send the game to overtime.
“I think we were having a hard time getting the ball through (the defense),” Cardarelli said. “Penn State did a really good job marking the lanes and open passes, so I think once we were able to manipulate that and work together it kind of all clicked.”
With a player advantage due to the earlier red card, the Wolverines controlled the tempo in the extra period. With 12:27 remaining in the first extra frame, sophomore midfielder Katie Trombetta scored on a give-and-go from freshman forward Emma Way, winning the game for Michigan.
“I mean, this could have been the end of our season,” Trombetta said. “Being able to go out and give it your all, and then it ended up working out in our favor and getting that goal in the last minute really was unbelievable.”
But the Wolverines’ late victory was bittersweet. The Big Ten suspended Swenson just before Sunday’s championship game against Maryland due to her actions in Friday’s game that resulted in the Penn State red card. Pankratz called on redshirt junior Chris Lueb to start Saturday’s bout — her 16th career appearance.
Michigan faced further absences during the game. With 5:46 left in the game, senior defender Lauren Thomas suffered a blow to the head while lunging for the ball. During her steal attempt, a Maryland attacker accidentally hit Thomas with her stick and foot, causing Thomas to be helped off field by the trainers. Fifth-year senior defender Mackenzie Ellis also took a shot to the hand, though both will be ready to go next week, according to Pankratz.
“We had to take a lot more risks, and that just opened us up to be a little bit more vulnerable as well,” Pankratz said. “Bottom line, we didn’t have a very good game today, and they beat us fair and square.”