Things to pack: stick, jerseys, mouth guard, shin guards, cleats and hurricane survival kit.

Though this is a fictitious packing list, it could easily belong to any member of Michigan’s field hockey team.

The No. 6 Wolverines (4-2) are flying into Washington, D.C., later this week, and they are already anticipating an unfriendly welcome. This will not come from a pack of sneering Maryland Terrapins, but rather Hurricane Isabel. This category-two storm is predicted to hit Cape Hatteras, N.C., and then work its way up the Eastern shoreline this week.

“I just hope I don’t get blown into the ocean,” senior tri-captain April Fronzoni said.

Though Michigan is concerned about what the inclement weather might mean for its gameplan, it has its sights set on weathering a different kind of storm.

On Saturday, Michigan will take on No. 3 Maryland in a rematch of the 2001 NCAA national championship game. The game, originally slated for tomorrow, was moved to Saturday morning due to the impending storm. While several of the names on the roster have changed since that fateful season, the team dynamic for the Wolverines remains strong.

“This team has great chemistry,” head coach Marcia Pankratz said. “That’s one of our greatest strengths. Even through adversity, we’ve remained connected.”

There are some players who recall that national championship game firsthand.

“After that game, I learned what being on a team was all about,” junior forward Adrienne Hortillosa said. “I was just a freshman then, and I’d never been on a winning team in high school. We learned to stick together.”

Fronzoni feels that she’s come a long way since that game.

“I think we’ve taken what we learned that season, in terms of leadership and field hockey skills, and not only maintained them, but also built on them,” Fronzoni said. “I’ve gotten stronger mentally and physically since 2001.”

A sense of urgency that accompanies her senior status also fuels Fronzoni’s determination.

“It’s the last time I get to come out and do a lot of things,” Fronzoni said. “I just cherish each day, and I’m enjoying the responsibilities that come along with being a captain. I feel that the team and the three captains have been working really well together.”

It may, however, take more than chemistry to defeat the Terrapins on their home turf.

“They have a couple of key European players that are really strong, so matching up with them will be important,” Pankratz said. “Their corner is also dangerous, so we have to make sure that we scout that out and cover it.”

Hortillosa is taking this game in stride.

“We’ve definitely learned to adapt and use our resources,” she said. “We’ve been through some difficult times already this season with our first two games, and we’ve fought through the adversity. We’re just taking it a game at a time.”

It is this attitude, as well as the confidence garnered by four consecutive wins, that will carry the Wolverines through a trying few days.

Several hope to re-live that 2001 victory. Others look to extend their streak to six wins.

And some are simply praying they won’t get blown into the ocean.








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