In the 2000 Michigan field hockey campaign, goalkeeper Maureen Tasch recorded a total of three shutouts. After just six games in the 2001 season, the senior has already surpassed her mark from a year ago.
The No. 4 Wolverines (4-2) have yet to surrender a goal in each of their four victories.
“We”ve really stepped it up this year,” Tasch said. “The defense believes in each other, and I am confident in myself.”
Even more incredible is the fact that Michigan earned three of its wins by the narrow score of 1-0. In each of those games, Adrienne Hortillosa was the difference, scoring the Wolverine”s only goals.
“It”s exciting when you score and also end up winning the game,” the freshman Hortillosa said. “I just wish those outcomes had not been so close.”
Despite playing in just her first season of collegiate competition, Hortillosa already leads the team with three goals and six points from her forward position.
“I do not look at myself as a freshman at all,” Hortillosa said. “If you start doing that, things might go your way, but they might not. I also try not to think about the goals. I do not want to get a big head this early in the season.”
Depending on further developments from yesterday”s terrorist attacks in Washington, D.C. and New York, Michigan will head back on the road this weekend for the Big Ten/Big East Challenge in Connecticut.
The Wolverines will battle the No. 14 Connecticut Huskies on Saturday and then finish the weekend on Sunday against Boston College.
“It will be another weekend of great competition,” head coach Marsha Pankratz said. “Connecticut always has an outstanding team, and Boston College is playing solid as well.”
The Huskies will definitely be eager to upset Michigan. In the two teams” only meeting two years ago, the Wolverines defeated Connecticut 4-3 in the NCAA Final Four to advance to the championship game.
This weekend will be Michigan”s final tune up before the Big Ten season begins next Friday against Indiana. Michigan is the reigning conference champion and two-time defending Big Ten Tournament winner.
“It”s a good mentality to think that you can battle for the conference championship,” Pankratz said. “But there are certainly some good teams out there. Penn State will have a good club, and Michigan State is up and coming as well.”
If the Wolverines are going to win their second straight Big Ten title, they will need to find a way to put more points on the board. With only five goals in their four victories this season, Michigan is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on Tasch. But this is something Pankratz has seen before.
“The offense always takes a little longer to get going early in the season,” Pankratz said. “Fortunately, our defense is playing well right now.”