We’re back with another non-revenue sport update.
Northwestern field hockey’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2014 ended on Sunday with a loss to No. 3 Michigan in the quarterfinals. On the day before, Northwestern continued its success in close games with a 3-2 overtime win against No. 8 Louisville in the first round. Northwestern was down 2-1 with under ten minutes remaining, but a clutch goal from Kirsten Mansfield got the Wildcats back in the game. With the teams deadlocked at 2-2 in regulation, Puck Pentenga scored in the 73rd minute to give Northwestern a fourth overtime win this season. Unfortunately, Northwestern lost leading goal scorer Pascale Massey to an injury against Louisville, and she was unable to play on Sunday against Michigan.
Northwestern’s impressive season came to an end the next day. Michigan had already beaten Northwestern twice this season in the regular season and the Big Ten Tournament. As with the other two games, the Wildcats’ offense was shut out by the Wolverines. Michigan’s Emma Way put Northwestern on the back foot with a goal at the 8:10 mark. Way would score twice more after halftime to complete a hat trick and send Michigan to the semifinals. Northwestern ended the season at 15-7, its best record since that NCAA Tournament run in 2014.
It was a phenomenal year for Tracey Fuchs’ squad, who showed improvement and grit throughout the season, especially in close games. Although Northwestern lacked the quality to see off any of the top teams (Michigan, Penn State, UConn, Duke), the Wildcats were still comfortably better than the mid-tier field hockey programs nationally. Northwestern field hockey beat the teams it was supposed to beat, made the NCAA Tournament, and provided plenty of excitement. Congrats.
I’ll try not to belabor everyone with excessive cross-country talk this time. Northwestern women’s cross-country took home eighth place at Big Ten Championships in Bloomington, Indiana, its best result since 2012. Sophomore Aubrey Roberts continued her sterling season with a sixth-placed finish and All-Big Ten Honors. Roberts kept her momentum going at the NCAA Midwest Regionals in Louisville, Kentucky. Roberts finished fourth overall at Louisville, earning her an individual bid to the NCAA Division I Championships for the second year running. The team as a whole didn’t do quite as well, finishing ninth in the region. There was some hope in the middle of the season that the team could be in the mix for an at-large bid for the Nationals race, but that didn’t happen. It was still another positive year for the program, which continues to improve under coach ‘AHavalha Haynes. The Wildcats also landed a darn good recruiting class for next year, which is a good sign.
Northwestern managed to rebound in a big way at the end of the season. The team won four of its last six regular season games and then defeated Rutgers 3-2 in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. After a colossally rough stretch earlier in the season in which Northwestern dropped 9 of 10, this was an impressive turnaround. Men’s soccer finished the season at 7-12, a slight improvement from last season.
The volleyball team has been in a bit of rut since our last update, losing 8 of its last 10 matches. In seven of those losses, the team failed to win a set, which isn’t great. The Wildcats did manage to battle back from a set down against Michigan to stun the Wolverines in Ann Arbor on November 10th. The Wildcats’ record is currently 14-14, but hopefully they can turn things around with a three-game homestand (well, at ETHS) against Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Nebraska.