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Field hockey: Wildcats dominate in opening weekend

The ‘Cats pulled off a huge upset in Virginia Beach.

Peyton Halsey and the Northwestern field hockey team put on an impressive show in Virginia Beach, going 2-0 to start the season. The ‘Cats tallied a win against Michigan State on Saturday and followed it up on Sunday with a high-caliber victory against Maryland.

Despite a slow start, Tracey Fuchs’ squad emerged victorious against MSU on Saturday. The Spartans’ only goal came in the first four minutes of the contest. Then, Halsey took over. In the 21st minute, Halsey got NU on the board with a one-timer from the top of the circle. The sophomore tacked on another goal in the 43rd minute when she deflected a shot by Bente Baekers.

Freshman Maddie Zimmer was dynamic in her first career appearance, with a team-high five shots on goal. Zimmer cemented the lead with an unassisted goal in the 54th minute, earning her first points as a Wildcat. As a result of a strong showing from the ‘Cats defense, MSU only took one shot on the goal in the final three-quarters of the match.

On Sunday, the ‘Cats took on Maryland — the preseason Big Ten favorite. Once again, NU clawed its way back from an early 1-0 deficit.

After the Terps scored in the sixth minute of the match, neither team scored for the remainder of the half. Northwestern came out fighting after the break, as Bente Baekers found Mackenzie Keegan on the right post less than a minute into the third quarter. Keegan chipped the ball over the keeper to tie up the score at 1. In the 41st minute, Baekers connected with Halsey, who tallied her third goal of the weekend. The ‘Cats defense, anchored by Christen Conley and goalie Annabel Skubisz, did not allow the Terps a single shot on goal in the fourth quarter of action.

The ‘Cats 2-1 victory over Maryland was their first against the Terps since 2017. Northwestern is now 2-0 on the season for the first time since 2011. The team will play again in Virginia Beach on Friday for another action-filled weekend, as it is slated to play Penn State and Maryland again.