The atmosphere was electric Sunday afternoon as Big Ten Tournament play kicked off at Ocker Field. And the No. 3 Michigan field hockey team did not disappoint. The team squared off against Ohio State and improved upon what has already been an impressive season with a 3-0 victory against the Buckeyes.
And impressive might be an understatement, as the Wolverines have now won 14 consecutive matches since September 10.
The possession and ball movement of Michigan’s offense was clicking, as the majority of play was spent in Ohio State’s half of the field.
“We had to really command the middle of the field and stay organized there because we had some players in different positions,” said Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz. “And I thought we managed that very well.”
The match was scoreless through the first 30 minutes of the first half — neither defense would give in. Michigan finally got on the board with a goal from senior midfielder Katie Trombetta, which came off the first of seven penalty corners awarded to the Wolverines. One more goal was added with 30 seconds left in the first half to give Michigan a 2-0 lead going into halftime.
Much of the offense was spearheaded by sophomore midfielder Guadalupe Fernandez Lacort’s driving runs up the field, which caused havoc for the defense and resulted in scoring opportunities.
“It was important for us to always be on top of our play,” Lacort said, “We needed to have a lot of communication in order to be really precise. … We started out being a bit disorganized but we were able to reverse the situation. There are always more things to improve for the next game.”
The Wolverines added their third and final goal on a corner with 16 minutes left in the second half as freshman midfielder Kayla Reed recorded her first goal of the game on a powerful shot assisted by Trombetta.
Michigan’s stingy defense capped off its impressive performance with a last-minute save by senior goalkeeper Sam Swenson on a shot from Ohio State midfielder Carolina Vergroesen to preserve the shutout.
Not only was this game important because it opened the Big Ten Tournament, but it also was an opportunity for the Wolverines to rebound after a shaky performance against the Buckeyes the first time around. That match was a tight game that ended with a Michigan victory in overtime.
“We had a lot of adversity the first time we played them,” Trombetta said, “and we wanted to make sure that we really showed them what Michigan field hockey is.”