Michigan field hockey coach Marcia Pankratz’s fiery attitude pushed the Wolverines over Kent State after an uneventful first half of play, which saw both teams go scoreless.
Despite the dismal beginning, Pankratz continued to show her passion while pacing up the sidelines and cheering the Wolverines (1-0 Big Ten, 7-3 overall) to a 3-0 victory.
“I love it,” junior Adrienne Hortillosa said about Pankratz’s intense attitude. “She pushes us as hard as she can so that we can be the best. Her motto is you practice like you play. So during practice, we play like it was a match.”
Hortillosa scored the first goal in the match due to No. 5 Michigan’s outstanding passing.
“We are trying to play a ball possession game,” Pankratz said. “We’re trying to set up some nice plays, and our players really think at a high level. So we try to go around them instead of kill them. I think we do that pretty well. Now we just have to attack a little bit more and go for the goal.”
Senior Kristi Gannon also scored twice in yesterday’s matchup against the Golden Flashes (3-6). Countless penalty corners helped Gannon and the Wolverines gain an edge in the game and score the winning goals.
“It’s a huge scoring opportunity for us,” Pankratz said about the penalty corners. “We have a lot of weapons, including Adrienne (Hortillosa). So its very dangerous, and we’ll take what the defense gives us.”
By scoring twice against Kent State, Gannon has now scored three goals this season. All of her goals have come in the team’s last three games.
“Both my goals were on corners, and it was the whole team working the ball up the field into the circle,” Gannon said. “I was just up there doing my job.”
Junior Jessica Blake and sophomore Lori Hillman also contributed to the team by recording two assists, both to Gannon. Junior Laura Woitkewitsch recorded one assist to help Hortillosa score the game’s first goal.
Freshman goaltender Beth Riley continued her dominance at the collegiate level by recording her third shutout of the season and increasing her record to 5-0.
“She has actually become a really great leader on the field,” Gannon said. “Freshmen are normally hesitant to become a leader, but she’s our stronghold back there, and she’s our last line of defense. She has been doing a great job. She’s playing really well tactically.”
But Riley constantly insists that her defense is the reason why she has continued to do well on the field.
“I don’t know what I would do without them,” Riley said. “They save my butt a lot, and I try to help them out. It’s a give-and-take situation.”
Michigan’s next matchup against Iowa will be personal for Pankratz. She spent her entire collegiate playing career with Iowa from 1982 to 1985. She was nominated for the Honda Broderick Sports Award in ’85 and ’86 and was voted to the Big Ten Field Hockey All-decade team (1982-1992) with the Hawkeyes.
“It’s going to be a great game,” Pankratz said. “Iowa is a strong team this year, and so are we. It should be a really good battle. It’s going to be really tight and close, and I’m glad we’re playing at home. Hopefully we’ll pull out a victory.”