Coming off a 4-1 win against Big Ten rival Rutgers, the No. 8 Michigan field hockey team (6-4 overall, 1-2 Big Ten) looked to keep the momentum rolling in its final non-conference game of the season against Ball State (5-5) on Sunday. Firing on all cylinders, the Wolverines sailed past the Cardinals, 7-0.
“One thing we’ve really been working on is just building off of each other and building our momentum throughout the game,” sophomore midfielder Abby Tamer said.
Michigan built that momentum quickly and built on it often. Within the first minute of play, the Wolverines drew two penalty corners leading to three shots. But while it couldn’t convert either, Michigan continued to apply pressure on Ball State.
Finally, that pressure reached a tipping point, as Tamer slammed home the third corner of the period from the top of the circle — her first of two on the afternoon. By the end of the period, Michigan outshot Ball State 10-0, tilting the field in its favor.
“Personally, it’s nice to get in on corners and get goals produced,” Tamer said. “But it’s on everyone to earn those corners.”
The Wolverines kept their foot on the gas, recording seven shots in the first three minutes of the second period.
Junior midfielder Lora Clarke shined throughout the period, tallying two goals within four minutes — the latter of which came off one of the many failed clearing attempts by the Cardinals. At the half Michigan led by three, and Ball State had yet to register a shot.
Looking to seal the game, the Wolverines came out of the half on a mission, adding two goals in the first three minutes of play. The Cardinals struggled to find an answer, failing to slow Michigan’s offensive onslaught as it tacked on two final goals to stretch the lead to seven.
“To see the goals start to fall is good for our team, for our team morale and for our forwards to just be putting balls in the back of the net,” Tamer said.
Throughout the game, the Wolverine defense was stellar. Each time Ball State possessed the ball in search of a breakout Michigan had at least two players there to swarm to the ball. This made it very challenging for an already struggling Cardinals to create any sort of offense. The lone shot allowed came in the final minute of play and wasn’t even directed at the net.
“That was another point of emphasis, to play a clean game defensively,” Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz said. “It’s tough to hold for the whole sixty minutes.”
Especially in a game where Michigan led the whole time, staying focused and keeping the pressure on can be challenging. By remaining engaged for a full sixty minutes, the Wolverines were able to finish strong against Ball State.
With its sights set on the tough conference schedule that lies ahead, a dominating win today goes a long way in terms of building momentum.