Though the Wolverines had a renewed sense of hope after scoring two late goals in the second half against No. 20 California, the Michigan field hockey team suffered its second consecutive overtime loss yesterday at Phyllis Ocker Field, falling 3-2.

After falling behind 2-0 late in the second half, Michigan coach Nancy Cox decided it was time to make a change. She delivered a short pep talk and switched some of the players in the backfield. The modification worked, and No. 19 Michigan tied the game by scoring two goals in less than a minute. The goals were enough to send the game into overtime, but the Golden Bears scored on a penalty corner shot five minutes into the extra period.

Although Michigan has lost its last two games in overtime, both losses have been a source of motivation. A strong performance against No. 4 Connecticut last weekend and the comeback invigorated the Wolverines.

“We felt such a high after playing Connecticut and I think we just wanted to bring that feeling into this game, “ said senior co-captain Sarah Wilhite. “I don’t think it really clicked until the last seven minutes of the second half that, yes, we are that good. And we came back in seven minutes and not many teams could do that. I think we really just need to believe.”

Sophomore Zara Saydjari scored the first goal for Michigan off an assist from sophomore Alicia Mayer with just eight minutes remaining in the game. The Wolverines kept the offensive pressure on California and Wilhite scored just 53 seconds later off an assist from sophomore Meredith Way.

Way contributed to each of the Wolverines’ goals against Connecticut and has tallied at least one point in six games this season. Wilhite leads the team in points this season with 20.

“I ran back and looked at Meredith,” Wilhite said. “I said, ‘OK, now we need No. 2 and we’ve got plenty of time,’ and she shot and I scored the second goal and that motivated us all. After that second goal, we were good to go, but they just got that lucky shot.”

After the two Michigan goals, the Wolverine defense was able to hold off California from scoring and sent the game to overtime. Just over four-and-a-half minutes in, California was awarded a penalty corner shot and scored.

The Wolverines (3-6) have yet to win a game this season against a ranked opponent. Their difficult nonconference schedule has included games against No. 1 North Carolina, No. 2 Maryland, No. 3 Wake Forest and No. 4 Connecticut. Though these games may have resulted in a loss, Cox believes the challenge her team has faced against the top ranked teams is the best way to prepare for the Big Ten season.

“All of these opportunities will prepare us to for a great Big Ten season start,” she said. “(The players) continue to do what we ask them to do in terms of being resilient, and playing until the last whistle blows, and today that mentality kept us in the match.”

Michigan will face its first Big Ten opponent this Saturday when it takes on Northwestern at 11 a.m. at Phyllis Ocker Field.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.