That’s what the Michigan field hockey team (6-2 overall, 1-1 Big Ten) did Friday afternoon in their Big Ten opener against Indiana (4-4, 0-1).
For some teams, playing on the road for the conference opener would pose a problem, but for the Wolverines it resulted in a 5-0 shutout of the Hoosiers.
After eight saves by Indiana goalkeeper Sachi Ananias in the first 10 minutes, Michigan didn’t lose hope of scoring first. Ten minutes into the game, sophomore midfielder Kathryn Peterson lined up for a corner. Redshirt sophomore midfielder Emma Tamer received it and took a shot up the middle. Another save by Ananias forced the ball back into play when senior midfielder Fay Keijer connected, catching Ananias off gaurd to give the Wolverines their first goal of the night.
“We were really putting emphasis on getting to rebounds,” Keijer said. “My teammates really set me up by getting those good shots on goal.”
The concentrated emphasis on small details mattered just seconds after the first goal as the Wolverines took advantage of poor passes and forced three Indiana turnovers over the next minute. Eventually the turnovers led to another Michigan corner, this time by Keijer. She inserted the ball to Tamer, who found the back of the net for the Wolverines’ second goal of the night.
Michigan’s early offensive domination set the tone for the rest of the game as it scored three more goals, one in each remaining quarter. The third came late in the second quarter as Indiana gave up yet another corner. Again, Peterson inserted the ball, this time to senior midfielder Guadalupe Fernandez Lacor, who sent a shot up the middle. Another save by Ananias launched the ball into the air where Keijer connected, and hit it back into the net.
“When it came high up in the air, I was just looking at the ball,” Keijer said. “(Michigan coach) Marcia (Pankratz) always tells us to bunt it.”
Keijer’s focus gave her two goals on the night, already tying her mark from last season.
The fourth goal came from junior midfielder Kayla Reed, with a cross-field pass from freshman midfielder Nina Apoola. With a flick over Ananias’s head, the Wolverines’ were up 4-0.
Sophomore forward Tina D’Anjollel contributed the fifth goal off another penalty corner. Indiana allowed Michigan ten penalty corners, which the Wolverines used to their advantage, scoring three of the five goals off them.
While Michigan dominated on the offensive side, the Wolverines’ defense also only allowed the Hoosiers one shot on goal, and it came late in the fourth quarter.
After a preseason full of tough opponents, Michigan was ready to prove itself in the Big Ten, and prove themselves the Wolverines did. They dominated on both sides of the field and started their conference season on a high note.
“It was a really big game for us because it was our first Big Ten game,” Keijer said. “You always want to set the tone. We’re ready to take on the Big Ten and make a good run.”