The No. 9 Michigan field hockey team (8-3-0 overall, 2-1-0 Big Ten) came into Sunday’s contest fourth in the Big Ten. Michigan State (5-6-0, 0-4-0), on the other hand came in ranked 24th in the country, but dead last in the Big Ten. In front of a packed crowd at Phyllis Ocker Stadium, it was the Wolverines who lived up to their ranking, securing their sixth straight win with a comprehensive 8-0 beatdown of the Spartans.
“One of our team missions is to play a full 60 minutes, ” said Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz, “We call it ‘60 in 60.’ ”
Michigan started off the game with an offensive onslaught, controlling the tempo of play from the whistle, resulting in a 12th-minute goal by senior forward Fay Keijer.
In a way, the first quarter was a microcosm for the rest of the game, as the Wolverines’ offense got going and never stopped. They finished the game with 13 corners and 35 shots compared to Michigan State’s zero and one, respectively. The first quarter dominance continued throughout the game, with Michigan never relinquishing its firm grasp on the game.
In the 20th minute, sophomore midfielder Sofia Southam scored her first of three goals off a corner shot, with her second a reverse chip with 30 seconds to go in the half.
“(Southam) had beautiful goals today,” Pankratz said. “She’s just a very skilled dynamic player. ”
Unfortunately for the Spartans, the second half was just more of the same. The Wolverines scored three more goals and once again controlled possession throughout the half. The third quarter marked a milestone for one Michigan player, though, when freshman midfielder Nina Apoola scored her first career goal off an assist from Southam.
“It’s fun to see her score her first goal today.” Pankratz said.
The fourth quarter saw the Wolverines keep their foot on the gas pedal and not let up to the final whistle. The quarter’s lone goal was the final in a hat-trick from Southam with 20 seconds to go in the game, giving the Wolverines yet another positive note to build off a game that was practically a symphony from start to finish.
“We really finished beautifully,” Pankratz said. “It was one of those fun games.”