Despite winning its last three contests, the Northwestern field hockey team looked disjointed against a red-hot Rutgers this weekend, falling 2-1 on Friday and 3-2 (OT) on Sunday.
On Friday, Rutgers jumped out to an early lead, scoring two points in the first three minutes of the game. The Scarlet Knights’ goals were just 39 seconds apart and both came from penalty corners. While the ‘Cats held a 13-4 shot advantage, a strong showing from the RU defense — most notably reigning Big Ten defensive player of the week Gianna Glatz (GK) — contributed to the offensive struggles for NU. While Northwestern was able to get on the board thanks to a goal by Bente Baekers after a breakaway in the 33rd minute, the ‘Cats were unable to garner much offensive momentum. Ultimately, despite the back and forth play by both teams, Northwestern was not able to overcome the two-point deficit created by the Scarlet Knights’ early scoring run.
Sunday was a rainy day in Piscataway, but both teams played hard, ultimately sending the game to overtime. The ‘Cats came out fighting early as Bente Baekers capitalized off of a penalty corner after just under four minutes of play. The ‘Cats hung on to the lead until the final two minutes of the second period, when Rutgers tied it up off of a penalty corner. Rutgers was the first team to get on the board after halftime, as Kassidy Shetler connected with Brody Molyneaux for a forehand shot from the middle of the circle. Both squads continued with the offensive pressure throughout the third quarter, but neither was able to score until early in the fourth quarter when a putback from Ana Medina Garcia tied the game at two apiece. After both teams came up empty in the scoring department for the remainder of the hard fought fourth quarter, the contest headed to extra time. Rutgers earned the first overtime corner opportunity after less than four minutes of play, and Katie Laurmour capitalized, finding the back of the cage after receiving a deceptive sweep from the top of the circle.
The ‘Cats’ struggles are perhaps best illustrated by both offensive and defensive corners. Rutgers scored on all four of their corner attempts on the weekend, while Northwestern’s unit was unable to convert on the offensive end. The Scarlet Knights have now won four straight against top ten opponents, making it all the more important for Northwestern to turn it around this weekend at home against Iowa in their last weekend of regular season play. The team is now 8-4 on the season and is undefeated at Lakeside Field.