Maybe it was a coincidence or maybe it was fate.
One minute and 47 seconds into overtime, senior forward Emma Way scored the game-winning goal — on Friday against Pacific (3-3 overall) and then again on Sunday against Monmouth (2-4).
To the second.
And the timing of the golden goals wasn’t the only similarity between the two games. Both times, the Michigan field hockey team (3-3) dominated possession for most of the contest, but struggled to finish its opportunities. Both times, it went to overtime tied 1-1. And both times, Way put the team on her back and carried it to victory anyway.
Early in the second half against the Tigers, senior back Regan Leavitt took a penalty corner — the Wolverines’ seventh of the game. She passed the ball to freshman midfielder Kathryn Peterson, who passed it to Way, who connected, finally, with a successful shot.
The dearth of early goals hadn’t been for lack of trying, though. The seventh-ranked Wolverines dominated possession throughout. With the exception of one period with three straight penalty corners by Pacific, Michigan constantly had the ball in the Tigers’ territory. However, the Wolverines’ execution was never quite right, and their shots were blocked or saved.
The second half was, by and large, more of the same. Michigan drew several corners, forced turnovers and stifled any possession by Pacific. For a time, it seemed as if the Wolverines’ early score would hold, but seconds after a timeout 25 minutes into the period, the Tigers tipped a shot in from the right sideline, and just like that the score was tied.
It took until overtime — when Way intercepted an errant pass in Pacific territory and took it to the goal — for Michigan to finally secure the win.
“I knew the second she intercepted the ball she was gonna score,” said Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz. “ … She’s very dangerous.”
On Sunday, the script was nearly identical. Early opportunities dissolved with the Wolverines’ inability to finish. The Hawks scored first on a tip in from the left post late in the first half. Despite going into halftime with 11 shots and four corners to Monmouth’s two and three, respectively, Michigan was down 1-0.
But in the second half, Dowthwaite intercepted a pass and drew a penalty stroke. Sophomore midfielder Kayla Reed took the direct shot and connected for the equalizer. But again, despite commanding the possession, the Wolverines failed to score for the rest of the game.
“A goal really lifts the intensity of the team and the momentum of the team, so it really flipped it around,” Reed said. “I think after that, we kind of all hyped up a lot more and had a lot more scoring opportunities, but unfortunately we couldn’t put them away.”
Then came overtime, and after a green card on a Hawks player, Michigan drew a corner. Way’s shot found the left corner of the cage with 8:17 remaining in the period — the exact same game time she had scored the game-winner against Pacific.
On a weekend when not much was going right for the Wolverines, Way came through again and again, and as the players mobbed her after the game, the missed chances were all but forgotten.
“We’re really calm, we know what we’re doing, we have the set game plan, and I believe in all their skills,” Reed said. “When it comes to overtime, I’m real confident.”