For a defender in field hockey scoring chances do not come often. So for Michigan senior captain Catherine Foreman, getting the opportunity to put the game away in overtime of yesterday”s game against Harvard was something she wasn”t used to.
Still, she blew the ball by Harvard goaltender Kate Zacarian to net her second career goal, giving Michigan the 2-1 victory.
“As a defender,” Foreman said, “it”s not really common territory for me, so I just hit the circle, shot, and hoped someone got the rebound. I just got lucky and it went in.”
The goal was a huge relief for Michigan since Molly Powers” goal five minutes into the contest, the Wolverines were unable to put the ball by Zacarian. Despite putting 19 shots on the Crimson netminder, Zacarian had an answer for everything Michigan gave her, making numerous diving saves. Despite being unable to capitalize on their opportunities, the Wolverines knew they could eventually put home the winning goal.
“You”re going to have matches like that when you hit some adversity, whether its self inflected of not, it”s going to happen,” Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz said. “We tried to talk about it during the break and talk about the fact that if you”re going to be a championship team you”re going to have to battle through adversity and find a way to win anyway.”
Michigan (3-0 Big Ten, 10-2 overall) took the lead early into the contest when Foreman pushed one near the goal to Powers who dove to her right to push it by Zacarian to give the Wolverines the lead five minutes in.
But Harvard struck back just a few minutes later when Pioneer High School alumna Eliza Dick faked out Michigan goalie Maureen Tasch, leaving her with a wide-open net to glide the equalizer through.
Harvard (2-0 Ivy League, 4-4) almost took the game away with 2:30 remaining, when a shot went past Tasch hitting the post.
“With them staying in the game so long, their confidence grew as the game progressed, but I felt like we handled it well. It was a close call but we realized how close it was and that we figured we should put it away pretty quickly after that,” Powers said.
Once overtime started, the change from 11-on-11 to seven-on-seven helped Michigan put the game away.
“I think we really are the fastest team in the country so it”s really advantageous to play seven-on-seven, so we feel confident going into the overtimes,” Pankratz said.
Also hindering Michigan was the emotion of its thrilling overtime victory over No. 7 Michigan State on Thursday night.
“What happens is that you”re so cognizant of not having a letdown that it plays on your mind a little bit,” Pankratz said. “We tried very hard to focus on the fact that after a big match there is a letdown so we talked so much that (the team) might have been a little bit tight.”
One unique aspect about the game was the amount of Ann Arbor natives on the field. Both squads had three ex-Pioneer players.
For the three players from Harvard, it was a fun experience coming back to play in their hometown.
“I kind of felt like this is my field, this is my town,” Dick said. “When you”re born in Michigan it”s kind of like the Wolverines are in your blood. Playing against them is just like any other team but I still always kind of cheer for Michigan,” Dick said.