Louisville field hockey goalkeeper Christy Hershey played sweet defense, but Michigan forward Adrienne Hortillosa managed to squeak one shot by to give the Wolverines a 1-0 victory Sunday.
On the scorecard, Michigan (3-1) dominated, out-shooting the Cardinals 21-3 and holding the penalty corner advantage 8-0. But Hershey”s relentless defense kept Louisville afloat until the Michigan freshman used solid stick work to give her team the lead with 7:50 left in the first half.
“If you take just straight shots on her, she”s going to get you,” Hortillosa said. “So I pulled right and saw she left the goal open between her pads and the post.”
Hortillosa was the only Wolverine who could seal the deal. April Fronzoni sent 10 shots Hershey”s way, but none fell through.
Hortillosa “can finish,” Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz said. “She gets the ball in the circle and makes it look easy. That”s why she”s here.”
It was the second time this season that Hortillosa had provided the game”s only offense. She gave Michigan a 1-0 win against last year”s national champion Old Dominion on Aug. 26.
Louisville was playing in its season debut. Of the four teams Michigan has faced, the Cardinals are the only one not in the Top 15, but Hershey”s netminding made the contest just as much of a challenge as Michigan”s games with more highly acclaimed opponents.
“Louisville has really come on in that last couple of years,” Pankratz said. She added that head coach Pam Bustin “has taken that program to a whole other level and they”re getting better and better.”
Though the Wolverines” offense had a tough time scoring, their defense performed solidly, and Michigan goalie Maureen Tasch didn”t need to make a single save. Tasch recorded her third-straight shutout. The last time the Wolverines blanked three-straight teams was in 1998.
“We try to play good team defense,” Pankratz said. “Our concept is a team game to pass the ball and to pass it quickly.”
Michigan”s 21 shots-on-goal were the most the offense had put up this season. Facing such a tough goalie kept Michigan”s persistence high.
“It”s great to see the forwards down there diving on the ground,” Tasch said. “They wanted it real bad.”
“We should”ve gotten more than one goal in there,” Hortillosa said. “We had a lot of shots on goal and we could have had a lot of tip-ins.”
It didn”t take long for the Wolverines to figure out that Hershey was a brick wall.
“We went down there the first 10 seconds and got a dead stop,” Fronzoni said. “That goalkeeper was amazing.”
Pankratz feels her team has a lot to work on before facing No. 1 North Carolina Saturday in Philadelphia at the Temple Invitational.
“We need to be sharper, passing the ball a little harder,” Pankratz said. “We need to be fundamentally more crisp.”