Opportunities knocked, and Michigan opened the door.
With just over eight minutes remaining in the first half, senior forward Emma Way rebounded her own shot and slotted it past the Northwestern goaltender, Annie Kalfas, to give the Wolverines a 1-0 lead. Less than two minutes later, junior forward Meg Dowthwaite tallied a second goal for Michigan off a pass from junior midfielder Guadalupe Fernandez Lacort. Dowthwaite found the back of the net with a reverse chip.
The two-goal halftime lead carried the No. 8 Michigan field hockey team (12-5 overall, 7-1 Big Ten) to a 3-1 win over No. 22 Northwestern (9-10, 3-5) in the Big Ten quarterfinals on Sunday. With this victory, the second seeded Wolverines move on to face No. 9 Iowa in the semifinals hosted at Northwestern on Friday.
The Wolverines excelled on both halves of the field, holding the Wildcats without a shot and tallying twelve of their own through the first 35 minutes of play.
“We really hone in on getting our press 100 before every game and we practiced their outlet,” said Emma Way. “I think our pressing team is very good and working on that before every game is crucial.”
The second half began with continued offensive domination by the Wolverines. Dowthwaite had a chance to make the game 3-0 when she was faced with an open net, but a last-second save by Northwestern midfielder Eva van Agt kept Michigan’s lead at two.
The Wildcats registered their first shot of the game six minutes into the second half off a corner, and Michigan had an answer for this offensive push from Northwestern. The Wolverines had a string of opportunities, including one by sophomore midfielder Maya Gompper that forced Kalfas to make a diving knee save.
Just less than eight minutes remained in the game when a shot from junior midfielder Fay Keijer was deflected into the goal by a Wildcat player. The Wolverines took a comfortable three-goal lead, but exactly one minute later, van Agt scored Northwestern’s lone goal of the game with a tip in from the right post off a corner.
Hoping to generate more offense, the Wildcats pulled their goaltender with around six minutes remaining and added an extra attacker. Michigan's defense held strong, and the team held on to their 3-1 lead.
Though the Wolverines scored three goals, they were unable to capitalize on any of the opportunities the ten penalty corners they earned presented them with.
“I think still goal scoring is something we need to work on,” said Way. “We have a lot of chances, a lot of shots and not a lot of finishes.”