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Field hockey: Northwestern wrecks Kent State behind Baekers hat trick

The Wildcats rolled over the MAC leaders this weekend in a must-win non-conference matchup.

Northwestern field hockey (12-5, 4-2 B1G) looked like itself again this weekend after a dominant 5-0 win against Kent State (9-6, 4-0 MAC). The tenth-ranked Wildcats had a light load this weekend as they head into one of the most important games of the season at Iowa next Saturday.

The lone game was against the Kent State Golden Flashes. In their annual Think Pink game (for breast cancer awareness), the Wildcats were able to pull out a decisive 5-0 win behind a Bente Baekers hat trick, her third of the season.

Northwestern started things off early with first-year Alia Marshall’s first career goal off of a Lakin Barry pass. Soon after, Baekers extended the lead to two. Right before the half, junior Mackenzie Keegan scored her first of the season off the assists from Peyton Halsey to extend the lead to three.

In the second half, it was all Baekers, who delivered two more goals — one off a penalty corner and one unassisted. The first year has now charted 22 goals on the season, and continues to lead the nation in that category.

Northwestern not only dominated on the offensive end but was a suffocating presence on defense. Kent State did not get a shot off for the first 55 minutes of play, and NU outshot them 18-to-1. Northwestern also had five penalty corners to Kent State’s zero. This marks the fifth shutout of the season for the Wildcats and for goalkeeper Florien Marcussen.

This weekend was the confidence booster Northwestern needed heading into its most crucial game of the season. The Wildcats are set to take on No. 6 Iowa (11-4, 5-1 B1G) on the road in a top-ten conference matchup.

Iowa has only fallen to top-five teams this season but is coming off a tough 3-2 loss to No. 5 Louisville. The Wildcats are looking to capitalize on the potential low point for the Hawkeyes and pull out a much-needed conference win to improve their standing as a potential NCAA Tournament at large heading into the Big Ten Tournament.