Though the No. 16 Michigan field hockey team suffered its first home loss of the season against Northwestern Friday, junior forward Rachel Mack and freshman back Lauren Thomas were resilient in defeat and helped keep Michigan in the game.

Mack scored the first goal of the game early in the first half, giving Michigan (0-2 Big Ten, 7-5 overall) what would be its only lead of the game, as the Wolverines ultimately lost 4-1 to Northwestern (2-1 Big Ten, 11-2 overall).

The tally extended Mack’s scoring streak to eight straight games and was the 45th goal of her career. Despite the strong start, Northwestern began to out muscle the Wolverines. Still, Mack said there were many lessons for Michigan to learn from the loss.

“They’re big rivals, so (the physical element) is bound to come out, and its always going to be a battle, I mean its Big Ten, so it was definitely a physical game, but we need those to toughen up and get stronger,” Mack said of her goal. “Hockey is a game of inches, I mean you can be just as good on paper or better in real life, it just depends how the game goes that day.

While the score didn’t show it, Michigan did demonstrate flashes of scrappy play throughout the game.

Thomas saved her first career goal in the first half, making an acrobatic save to prevent a Northwestern goal, which would’ve given the Wildcats the lead. It is plays like that that the team will look back on as an example for what they need to do to defeat stronger opponents such as Northwestern. .

“I just threw myself at the line for the team… but everything’s for the team,” Thomas said of her saved goal. “You just got to take, and I think anyone else would have done it if they were in my position.”

After the game, Thomas said she wasn’t discouraged, and emphasized that Michigan, which is a relatively young team, would be able to use the loss against Northwestern as an opportunity to improve.

“at the end of the day, it was like they wanted it a little more than us, but that’s something we’ve got to learn from and take into the next game,” Thomas said of the game. “Its all a good learning curve for us.”

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