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Northwestern field hockey sweeps Indiana in home opener

Their dominant weekend earned them the No. 4 spot in the national rankings.

In the early weeks of this season, Northwestern field hockey (5-1, 3-1 B1G) has been nearly unstoppable, and against Indiana this weekend, the Wildcats proved that once again. On its home turf, NU swept the Hoosiers 2-0 and did not allow a single Indiana goal the entire weekend.

In Friday’s game, the Wildcats took control from the start, when Mackenzie Keegan drove it in from the top of the circle on a penalty corner to take the early 1-0 lead. Peyton Halsey and Bente Baekers extended the lead with back-to-back goals in the second quarter just 40 seconds apart.

In the second half, Baekers scored her second goal of the day, baiting the goalie and working around her to find the back of the net. This was the star scorer’s first multi-goal game of the season. Freshman Maddie Zimmer delivered the final blow in the 52nd minute with a beautiful reverse chip from the top of the circle. The Wildcats outshot IU 14-2 in the 5-0 victory and 10-1 on goal.

The ‘Cats returned to Lakeside Field on Sunday for a second straight matchup with the Hoosiers in which they were just as dominant. Maren Seidel started the scoring onslaught eight minutes in with a deflection off a penalty corner shot from Lakin Barry. Then, Ana Medina Garcia scored consecutive goals at the end of the first and third quarters before first year Lauren Wadas found her first career goal in the fourth. In the 4-0 shutout, NU outshot IU 29-4 and earned a whopping 21 penalty corners.

For her backfield dominance in shutout weekend, junior captain Kayla Blas was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. The Wildcats also found themselves ranked fourth in the nation in the first NFHCA Coaches Poll released on Tuesday. They are currently tied for first in the Big Ten with Iowa and Rutgers

Northwestern continues its shortened schedule on Saturday, as it will travel to Ann Arbor to take on No. 11 Michigan in a two-game road series.