It may have taken 89 minutes and 57 seconds, but the No. 10 Michigan women’s field hockey team finally clinched the win that will secure it a spot in the Big Ten semifinal on Friday.
In double overtime of the quarterfinal match against Michigan State (8-12), sophomore midfielder Leah Cardarelli scored the crucial game-winning goal off an assist from freshman midfielder Meg Dowthwaite. Dowthwaite gathered the ball between the Spartans’ offense and sent it to Cardarelli, who managed to dribble the ball into the circle and send her shot past Spartan goalkeeper Sierra Patton.
After falling behind early, the Wolverines (12-6) initially tied the game with only 2:44 left off a goal from fifth-year senior midfielder Esther de Leijer at the 67:16 mark. The unassisted goal was a rebound shot from the top of the circle that neutralized Michigan State’s one-goal lead, courtesy of Kristin Matula at the 19:30 mark in the first half.
Despite the Spartans scoring first, Michigan dominated in shots throughout the game. The Wolverines doubled the Spartans’ shot count, 18-9, and also outcornered them, 8-1. Thanks to this advantage, Michigan junior goalkeeper Sam Swenson only needed to make four saves as opposed to Patton’s 10.
Even though Patton’s defense proved strong, it wasn’t enough to deter the Wolverines in the final minutes of the game. Cardarelli’s goal proved fatal for the Spartans, as their season came to an end in the 2-1 loss.
Michigan’s season, however, will continue Friday in the Big Ten semifinal against Penn State in College Park.