After a successful road trip to Ithaca, N.Y, the Michigan field hockey team (8-0 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) enjoyed a return to Ocker Field as they faced No. 25 Michigan State (6-2, 0-2) and No. 23 Kent State (5-3). The two games played vastly different for the Wolverines, but ultimately they swept the weekend series, beating the Spartans 6-1 and the Golden Flash 2-1, to remain undefeated on the year.
Against Michigan State on Friday, Michigan burst out of the gate with a familiar aggressiveness, scoring twice within the first five minutes of the game. Sophomore midfielder Anouk Veen added the second goal via a penalty corner shot inserted by senior midfielder Kathryn Peterson.
“The past few weeks I’ve had some frustrating misses off corner shots,” Veen said. “It was good to finally score and finally convert.”
Mere seconds before the halftime buzzer, the Spartans took advantage of a blocked shot bouncing back to their forward Hannah Jarvie, who sent it to the back of the net and cut the score to 2-1. That score would hold until Veen converted another penalty corner shot in the 40th minute to make it 3-1. From there, the floodgates opened for Michigan’s scoring, as three different players added goals. By the end of the game, a tight contest became a 6-1 blowout.
“We’re a very deep and versatile team.” Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz said. “We ask the girls to give it their all as long as they can because we have the depth to relieve them when they get tired.”
In contrast to the offensive performance that won out against Michigan State, the Wolverines seemed unable to find a consistent posture against the Golden Flashes. Michigan was held out of the goal column the entire first half, a first in the young season.
“They played tough, and we knew they would,” Pankratz said. “We had to stay patient when we weren’t getting the opportunities we wanted.”
Kent State dominated the second quarter’s possessions, holding Michigan to zero shots while adding four unsuccessful shots of their own. Ultimately though, it was the third quarter that provided the majority of the game’s scoring, with a Michigan penalty corner from senior midfielder Sofia Southam being quickly answered by a Kent State equalizer. The game was finally put away on a 52nd minute penalty corner, converted again off the stick of Southam.
Southam finished the weekend at 13 total season goals, tied with North Carolina forward Erin Matson for the most in Division I.
“Most of my goals have come off great team work and team passing,” Southam said. “Having that team dynamic is huge for us.”
Daily sports contributor David Woelkers can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter at @dawjr98.