It was a goal 87 minutes in the making.
Both teams were exhausted heading into a second overtime, and a back-to-back Big Ten regular season title was on the line for Michigan.
The Wolverines’ break came with just over two minutes remaining in the second overtime. Sophomore midfielder Kayla Reed found herself alone along the baseline with the ball on her stick and the game in her hands. Reed carried the ball along the right baseline directly toward the goal and snuck it behind the keeper.
With the goal, the No. 7 Wolverines (11-5 overall, 6-1 Big Ten) successfully clawed their way to a double-overtime victory against No. 21 Ohio State (11-6, 4-3), and with it, another conference title.
“I guess I was lucky enough to find myself along the baseline … tried to look for the pass but they’d cut them off,” Reed said. “I’d seen the goalie so I just popped it down and hoped for the best.”
The game began slowly, with both teams failing to score in the first half. Michigan dominated possession but struggled offensively. The Wolverines had the momentum at the first half’s end, but it quickly switched in favor of the Buckeyes at the start of the second frame. Ohio State tallied six shots and five penalty corners.
A string of three corners led to Buckeye midfielder Esther Clotet scoring off a low, hard shot to the corner. No more than ten minutes later, the Wolverines had an answer to Ohio State’s goal. Reed sent a hard shot toward the goal off a restart, and junior forward Meg Dowthwaite deflected the ball into the net from the right post.
It was not smooth sailing for Michigan heading into overtime with the game tied at one. The Wolverines competed with a player down for five minutes of the first ten-minute overtime period — the result of a yellow card to junior Fay Keijer in the 65th minute of regular time.
“I mean it’s extraordinary to go through an overtime down a player and survive that,” said Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz. “Once we got our player back, I felt really confident that things were gonna go our way.”
With the defeat of the Buckeyes, Michigan finished the regular season 7-1 in the Big Ten, good enough for a share of the conference title with No. 2 Maryland. The Wolverines finished the season 8-0 at home and will host the first round of the Big Ten Tournament next Sunday.
“I love playing home, it’s such a good experience,” Reed said. “Just a sense of pride, keeping a clean slate on your field. It’s always a good atmosphere, it’s really cool to have your friends in the stands, cheering you on.”