Late in the second half of Saturday’s match, Michigan and Old Dominion found themselves tied at three with the role of hero still up for grabs. With 10 minutes left, Michigan junior Kara Lentz took a sweeping shot from just outside the circle. Katie Morris, one of the Wolverines’ three captains, stuck out her stick and redirected the ball top-shelf past Old Dominion’s Mary Cate Gordon to give Michigan the lead.

With the score and time on their side, the Wolverines clamped down defensively, holding the Monarchs to just two shots in the final 10 minutes. Junior goalie Beth Riley stopped both, and Michigan won 4-3 at Phyllis Ocker Field in Ann Arbor.

“It’s a tremendous win for the program,” Michigan coach Nancy Cox said. “What was clearly demonstrated today on the field was our senior leadership.”

These days Michigan’s field hockey team (3-3) might want to consider spelling captain with a “K” for Katie. Morris battled through a foot contusion to net the gamewinner, and the goal gave her a hat trick, the first of her career. And oh yeah, she tallied the game winner in a 2-1 home win against Miami (Ohio) on Friday as well.

“As a senior, our role is to step up when nothing else is going on,” Morris said. “I realize that is part of the job and try to do what I can, but it was also a complete team effort.”

Despite Morris’s great play, Michigan never felt comfortable against Old Dominion (2-3). The two teams battled back and forth all day, with neither team able to build more than a one-goal lead.

Wolverine freshman Erin Dallas got the scoring started early. Dallas took the ball deep into the Monarchs’ circle and fired a shot on net. Gordon made the stop, but Dallas stayed with the loose ball and sent the rebound high over Gordon’s shoulder to give Michigan a 1-0 lead six minutes into the game.

The Wolverines barely had a chance to enjoy it because the Monarchs came storming back. One minute after Dallas scored, Old Dominion’s Katelyn Smither took advantage of a scrum in front of the net to bang the ball past Riley to tie the score. Two minutes later, Denise Admiraal redirected a shot by Riley to give the Monarchs a 2-1 advantage.

Morris tallied her first goal of the game when she picked up a loose ball in front of the Monarch’s net and beat Gordon to tie the game heading into halftime.

Looking for a good start to the second half, Michigan did not get what it hoped for. Janelle Engle took advantage of a penalty corner opportunity to put Old Dominion back on top just over two minutes into the second half.

A key mistake by Gordon got the Wolverines right back into the game. She left her circle to collect a loose ball, hoping to prevent Michigan freshman Stephanie Hoyer from taking a good shot on net. Gordon beat Hoyer to the ball but failed to control it. Michigan junior Mary Fox picked it up and dumped it into the circle where Morris was waiting. The junior sent the ball into the empty net for her second goal of the game, tying the score at three with 16 minutes to play.

“I was just at the right place at the right time,” Morris said. “That one was the result of the hard work of the entire team.”

Old Dominion out-shot Michigan, 17-10, and had seven more penalty corner opportunities. But Riley was solid in net for the Wolverines, making nine saves and keeping Michigan in the game until Morris got the offense going.

Saturday’s win over Old Dominion extended the Wolverines’ win streak to three games.

“We are gaining more and more confidence with each game, and, as a young team, we need that,” Morris said. “Now we are starting to get rolling, and we can ride the momentum.”

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