With balls flying and sticks crashing, the Michigan field hockey
team has come to expect injuries. During last weekend’s Big
Ten Tournament, the No. 8 Wolverines were forced to go to their
bench when two key players were knocked out of Sunday’s
final. With the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament
coming to Ann Arbor this weekend, Michigan’s depth gives it a
sizable advantage in the run for the national championship.

Field Hockey
Katie Morris (14) has been one of the stars of the field hockey team this season, but she had to leave the finals this weekend when she was hit in the head with the ball. (Joel Friedman/Daily)

Michigan took a big hit to its defense when senior captain Katy
Moyneur was hit on the hand by a ball and broke her thumb during
Saturday’s semifinal against Ohio State. Moyneur stayed in
the game, helping Michigan shut out the Buckeyes, 5-0.

“(Moyneur) is an absolute stud,” Michigan coach
Marcia Pankratz said. “Professional football players would
have come out of the game with what I saw on her hand today. Her
thumb was at a 90-degree angle, completely smashed. She just said,
‘Tape it up and let’s keep going.’ And she was
fabulous.”

When Sunday’s final came around, Moyneur was out on the
field again, but just to keep a streak alive. Moyneur has started
every game since she arrived at Michigan four years ago, and she
and her teammates were determined to get her in the game —
even for just a few minutes.

“We weren’t going to start her,” Pankratz
said. “But the team came to me and was adamant about her
starting and wanted that to happen. So we did it.”

Just minutes after freshman Ashley Lennington replaced Moyneur,
Michigan received another scare when a ball grazed Lori
Hillman’s head. Fortunately, she was able to remain in the
game and played a key part in holding off Iowa in a one-goal
game.

Later on in the match, the Wolverines lost forward Katie Morris
when a ball struck her in the head. Morris initially began heading
right back into play, but was forced to leave the game because she
was bleeding.

“It’s just that time of year where injuries happen
and your body wears down a little bit,” Morris said.
“It’s tournament time — you have to be prepared
for it. I just had bad luck getting hit in the head.”

Morris will likely be back in action Saturday when the
Wolverines host the Pacific Tigers in the first round of the NCAA
Tournament. But Moyneur remains a question mark. Pankratz believed
that if there is any way she can be on the field, she will be.

But the Wolverines can take comfort in the fact that their bench
stepped up when they lost two key players. They head into this
weekend happy to be hosting the tournament, knowing that having a
deep bench will help them compete in front of their home fans even
if they lose a starter or two.

“This team has worked very hard to put ourselves in a
position to host, which we are very excited about doing,”
Pankratz said. “It’s going to be great competition;
it’s a difficult bracket, and all four teams have the ability
to win and move on.”

Michigan’s first match will take place on Saturday at
either 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. The Wolverines defeated the Tigers 3-0 in
Iowa City in early October. Pankratz refuses to look past the
first-round matchup, though.

“We’ll certainly have to take a hard look at
Pacific,” Pankratz said. “It’s not easy to beat a
team twice in the same year, so we’ll definitely do the best
we can to get ready for them. We really just want to take it one
game at a time.”

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