It took just over one minute for the No. 8 Michigan field hockey team to get on the board against Central Michigan on Sunday.
With the Wolverines on the attack, senior forward Sina Lampe fired a pass into the crease, finding the stick of senior forward Courtney Enge, who deflected it past the Chippewa goalkeeper.
Enge’s goal opened the floodgates for the Wolverines (1-0 Big Ten, 6-1 overall), who displayed their offensive prowess during a 10-0 rout of Central Michigan (1-6) — Michigan’s second win of the weekend after a 4-1 triumph over Michigan State (0-1, 4-3) in the conference opener Friday night.
The Chippewas hardly challenged the Wolverines, who tallied 34 shots and 12 corners. Michigan controlled possession and generated scoring opportunities at will — though it initially struggled with finishing its chances.
Despite spending most of the first half threatening to score, Michigan tacked on only one other goal when redshirt junior midfielder Allie Sardo scored off a corner.
“After coming in from halftime, we had to figure out what our mojo was and what our passing game was,” Enge said. “Getting it down the line and into the circle are really good things for us, and it was just going to take time to finish.”
Finishing wasn’t as much of a problem in the second half — the Wolverines scored eight times to turn the game into a blowout, with four coming in the first 10 minutes of the half.
“In the first half we were frantic a little bit when we were in the circle,” Enge said. “In the second half, we were able to get the ball on the stick and figure out what we were going to do with it next.”
Added Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz: “It takes a little bit longer for the attack to be firing on all cylinders, so we just needed to stay patient and continue to try to execute and that was what we talked about at halftime.
“We have the saying, ‘Slow is smooth and smooth is fast,’ and (I told them), ‘Make sure you just finish your chances,’ and that worked out in the second half a lot better.”
With Michigan’s offense holding the ball for most of the game, the backline didn’t face much pressure. Central Michigan was unable to generate any shots or corners until the final seconds of the second half.
It was a slightly different story Friday against the Spartans, but the Wolverines still emerged with a relatively easy 4-1 victory.
Michigan State tallied 10 shots, scoring a goal in the first half and forcing junior goalie Sam Swenson to make five saves. Yet the Wolverines held a lead throughout the contest, avenging a 5-3 preseason loss to the Spartans.
“Preseason, we (were) still working on some things, working on lineups and personnel, and I think we played with a lot more energy and organization (Friday),” Pankratz said. “We contested a lot more plays than we did in the preseason.
“When we get circle penetrations, we have to be able to finish. With Sam being in our goal cage and being such an extraordinary goalie, putting in four goals is going to bode well for us.”
It bodes well even more so for Michigan, considering its defense has surrendered a total of four goals in seven games, with Swenson already posting two shutouts.
Still, even coming off a game in which her team scored 10 goals, Pankratz knows there’s still room for improvement in the young Wolverines — especially as their schedule increases in difficulty.
“Ohio State, Penn State and the Big Ten ratchets up your ability to have to make decisions quickly,” Pankratz said. “So (we need to make) free hits quicker, (make) decisions quicker and just (do) everything we did today at a higher level.”