On two penalty corners, Kayla Reed was positioned in the same spot, right in front of the right post. Both times, it resulted in the junior midfielder finding the back of the net for two of the No. 9 Michigan women’s field hockey team’s (5-2) four goals in a 4-0 win over Kent State (4-5) on Sunday.

Reeds first goal came in the second minute of the second quarter, on the fourth of a stretch of four consecutive corners. Senior midfielder Kay Feijer made a pass off the corner to junior defender Halle O’Neill, who found Reed. Reed dove to get a stick on the ball and redirected it into the net.

The second came just six minutes later, and looked almost identical. This time, sophomore midfielder Kathryn Peterson made the initial pass to O’Neill, whose pass went straight to the stick of Reed for an easy redirection goal.

“Definitely over the last three years it’s been a go-to corner play for us,” Reed said. “I feel like if you look back on the stats, it’s one of our most scored corners.”

Throughout the game, keeping possession was an important factor for the Wolverines. In the first quarter, they constantly played in Kent State territory, but had difficulty getting passes to the center and getting shots on net. Michigan broke through in the second half, when the four consecutive penalty corners and Reed’s goal gave it momentum, and went on to attempt 22 shots.

“It’s always important to keep possession,” said Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz. “We’re always working on it and I thought today we did quite a good job.”

After taking a 2-0 lead into halftime, the Wolverines switched into more of a defensive mode in the second half. While the Golden Flashes were not getting many scoring opportunities in the first half, they had even fewer in the second. Michigan held them to no attempted shots in the second half, and only three in the entire game.

“I was proud of our team defense,” Pankratz said. “I thought we stepped up and intercepted well.”

The fourth quarter may have been the Wolverines most sound quarter from both an offensive and defensive standpoint. They continued to stifle Kent State defensively, and they consistently threatened in the offensive zone. Sophomore midfielder Sofia Southam added to Michigan’s lead with a high goal off her own rebound within the first thirty seconds of the quarter, and senior midfielder Guadalupe Fernandez Lacort tallied the final goal for the Wolverines with ten minutes remaining.

“I thought our team worked really hard,” Pankratz said. “We had to be very disciplined and organized today and I thought we were.”

The win marks Michigan’s fourth in a row, giving the Wolverines a sizable amount of momentum going into the start of the Big Ten season on Friday. Their difficult non-conference schedule, including four ranked opponents, has made them confident that they can compete with the best of the best.

“I think we feel prepared,” Pankratz said. “It’s by design that we play a tough pre-conference schedule to play against the best, to improve and see where we are.”

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