Wherever the Wolverines go, their parents follow. A weekend in enemy territory was no exception, as the Michigan field hockey team earned two victories at Buckeye Turf Field, including an overtime victory over Ohio State.
Michigan’s positive momentum and parental fandom earned the Wolverines an even playing field in Columbus on Sunday against Ball State.
“No matter where we play, we have an unbelievable amount of support from our parents,” said redshirt sophomore midfielder Emma Tamer. “Even if we are in California playing Stanford, we still have a good amount of our fans and it kind of always feels a little neutral to me.”
No. 11 Michigan’s (10-3) unwavering support paid off in its 6-0 shutout victory over the Cardinals (3-10).
With under a minute to play in the first quarter, redshirt sophomore forward Kate Burney threaded a pass to sophomore forward Katie Anderson, who found the back of the cage at the 14:04 mark.
After a scoreless second quarter, the Wolverines started the second half with three shots in the first 65 seconds en route to 14 total in the third quarter.
“The biggest change came at halftime. I think we kind of woke up a little bit,” Tamer said. “We all know the tactics are there. It’s about the intangibles. It’s about whether we show up and work hard and whether you’re on your girl or you’re one step off. I think those are minor details that make a huge difference.”
Michigan’s third quarter surge led to another late-quarter goal, this time from Tamer, assisted by senior midfielder Meg Dowthwaite, pushing the lead to 2-0.
“We’re always trying to play sixty minutes no matter if it’s the first minute or the last minute,” said Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz. “We’re a very fit team and I think they can manage doing that.”
Going into the fourth quarter, Ball State had not registered a single shot since the first half. The Wolverines’ smothering defense ensured that didn’t change in the final 15 minutes.
“It all starts with a great defense,” Pankratz said. “We’ve had a bunch of shutouts in a row and I think our backfield players were really clamping down defensively.”
Yet it was Michigan’s dynamic offense that stole the show in the fourth.
Dowthwaite got things started, scoring off an assist from sophomore midfielder Sophia Southam. The final three minutes of the contest included goals from sophomore midfielder Kathryn Peterson at 57:02, junior midfielder Maya Gompper at 58:08 and Tamer less than a minute later— her second of the afternoon.
After narrowly winning the shots battle, 3-2, in the first quarter, Michigan dominated, 28-3, the rest of the way. The Wolverines’ aggressiveness on the offensive end was paramount in their fourth-quarter scoring outburst.
“No shot is a bad shot,” Tamer said. “We have amazing forwards who have their sticks down and can finish. We know that it’s a process and not every shot is going to go in, even though we strive for that.
“I think it’s just trusting the process and knowing that eventually those goals will come if we continuously work hard.”
Sunday, that hard work paid dividends.