Controlling possession is indicative of a winning team. But on Friday, the No. 7 Michigan field hockey team found that it doesn’t always translate into success.
Although the Wolverines and Penn State each had one shot on goal by the end of the first quarter, their ability to capitalize on these attempts would prove to be the deciding factor of the game. The Wolverines found themselves in their offensive zone for the majority of the game, but they couldn’t find the back of the cage.
The Nittany Lions didn’t have this issue, netting two of their three total shots to win the game. Michigan’s lack of offensive conversion proved to be fatal as the team only scored one goal despite 23 shot attempts.
“The past two games that we’ve lost, we have definitely outplayed our opponents,” junior Lora Clarke said. “I would say we have more shots, we have more corners and … we just have to work on finding the back of the cage.”
The Wolverines took more corner attempts than the Nittany Lions, ending the game with 10 total penalty corners to Penn State’s one. Converting with penalty corners is something that has plagued Michigan all season, and on Friday, it was no different.
Although the Wolverines were able to penetrate into the offensive zone, they couldn’t turn that into success on the scoreboard.
The matchup with Penn State marked Michigan’s first conference game while also exposing what the Wolverines will have to fix to reach their season goals. The team created numerous scoring opportunities, but failing to take advantage of these chances led to a Big Ten loss for the Wolverines.
“Every (Big Ten matchup) is a significant matchup,” Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz said. “So every game matters and it’s a huge, huge game, so we’re disappointed that we didn’t win it, especially at home.”
The Wolverines’ offensive corners were telling of the dominance and determination they have shown so far this season. But, what they did with these corners showed faults in their strategy. Their dominance never reflected on the scoreboard.
“If you can’t finish and score goals (you) can’t win the game,” Pankratz said. “So we’ve been working on it really hard. (We’re) frustrated that we haven’t been able to solve it yet.”
If the Wolverines continue struggling to capitalize on offensive chances, it will continue to be tough to turn the team’s strength into success on scoreboard.