Forty-one shots is a lot for any team to fire off in a single game, even for the No. 9 Michigan field hockey team. But on Sunday, the Wolverines did just that en route to dominating Ball State, 7-0.
While the team was locked-in on offense throughout the entire game, the real offensive showcase came in the third quarter.
The Wolverines’ lead was just three goals entering the second half. Then, in the third quarter alone, the team had twelve shots and four goals — crossing the line from winning to fully dominating.
“I just think they came out really strong (after halftime) and ready to get after it,” Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz said. “So it was mostly their mentality that made that happen.”
The intensity was there from the first whistle. Within the first 25 seconds of the quarter, senior midfielder Nina Apoola tipped in a pass across the circle.
The momentum from the first half only amplified after this.
“We’ve been consistently talking about playing a full 60 (minutes) and playing really good, disciplined defense, and then finishing and today we did all of those things,” Pankratz said. “So I was proud of the team for that.”
This all-out, all-game mentality defined the third quarter. During those fifteen minutes, the Wolverines possessed the ball for nearly 80% of the time, more than in any other period.
Michigan possessed an aggressive mindset, working together in every play, stringing together passes to put itself in shooting position. During the few moments where the Wolverines didn’t have the ball, they pressured hard to win it back almost instantly and never gave the Cardinals a chance to get going.
“We’re just really trying to work on treating every single opponent like it’s like a national championship game,” junior midfielder Lora Clarke said.
Sophomore midfielder Abby Tamer scored her second goal of the game during the third quarter. Like each of the previous goals, it resulted from a cohesive group effort, and she tipped in a hard sweep that cut through the middle of the field.
In comparison to the rest of the season, Michigan scored more goals in the third quarter alone than they have scored total in seven of their nine previous games. Thirty-three percent of their shots in the third quarter were goals, while the Cardinals didn’t get a single shot off.
“We’ve been getting a lot of shots in most games,” Tamer said. “So to see the goals start to follow is good for our team for our morale.”
Moving forward, the team hopes to take the cohesive play and high scoring percentage of the third quarter and turn it into full game efforts.