In its second game in 26 hours, the Michigan women’s field hockey team put up eight straight goals and shut out Michigan State in a dominating fashion.
The complete game was made impressive by the quick turnaround from its game a day prior. Michigan had only a day to rest, gameplan and prepare for Michigan State after its 1-0 victory over Appalachian State on Saturday.
The team game-planned for the back-to-back matches to be ready for the Spartans the next day. Though the score was close Saturday, Pankratz stuck to the plan and kept rotating players to keep their legs fresh. It was part of her game design — everybody had to be balanced and rested for their important matchup the day after.
The Wolverines proved this strategy worked. There was zero hint of fatigue in Sunday’s outing. In fact, the opposite rang true, with the team buzzing with energy.
The ninth-ranked Wolverines (8-3 overall, 2-1 Big Ten) routed the 24th-ranked Spartans (5-6 Overall, 0-4 Big Ten), 8-0. The win included a hat trick by sophomore midfielder Sofia Southam and the first career goal for freshman midfielder Nina Apoola.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the match was the amount of energy Michigan brought from beginning to end. The Wolverines dominated possession by out-hustling Michigan State, resulting in multiple offensive opportunities and out-shooting their opponents, 35-1.
Michigan consistently swarmed the Michigan State offense, rarely giving them an opportunity to control the ball. The Wolverine defense challenged the Spartans almost immediately every time they received the ball.
“Every game we have to come out with the same energy, and just really go from the start,” Apoola said. “Then we can get more goals and get more wins.”
Beginning games with high energy continues to be an important mission for Michigan. The Wolverines feel confident in their ability to win as long as they play hard for the full 60 minutes.
“We call it ‘60 in 60,’ ” said coach Marcia Pankratz. “We’re always striving to do that.”
This philosophy — giving full effort the entire match — led to the relentless attack deep into the match, with the final goal coming with just 21 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
The strong finish in the energy-filled match is a good sign for Michigan and its ability to compete deeper into the season when back-to-back games become more common — including in the Big Ten Tournament.
The Wolverines, fourth in the conference, have shown their ability to stay fresh between games — an asset that will prove useful down the stretch.