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Field Hockey: No. 3 Northwestern falls to Maryland, Rutgers after OT win against Penn State

Big Ten field hockey is no joke.

Photo courtesy of @NUFHCats

With one new win and two losses, No. 3 Northwestern’s record right now is 10-3. The Wildcats are still fighting for the national title, pushing into overtime in two of their last three games. Every player is contributing all over the field with a total of eight goals scored and 18 saves by Annabel Skubisz against a triad of ranked conference opponents. There is little room for error when you’re a powerhouse like Northwestern, and though the two losses may have dropped the ‘Cats’ respective ranking, the reigning national champs are still very much in the mix.

Friday, Sept. 30: No. 6 Penn State

The Wildcats won 5-4 in overtime with a goal by Peyton Halsey in the last seven seconds of the first overtime period on a strong penalty effort. It was a shootout all game — Penn State started off strong at Lakeside Field with a first-quarter goal. Less than five minutes into the second quarter, Lane Herbert passed to open Bente Baekers, who scored, tying up the game.

Penn State managed to score two more goals before Baekers scored again off a corner in the third quarter, assisted by Alia Marshall and Ana Medina Garcia. With just 11 minutes left in regulation, the score was 4-2, but Halsey was able to score two more goals before the final whistle. Her second effort hit the back of the net in the last minute after a missed shot on goal from a penalty corner by Baekers, tying up the game and forcing overtime. To seal the hat trick, Halsey scored a penalty stroke goal in overtime to take down the top 10 Nittany Lions.

Sunday, Oct. 2: No. 4 University of Maryland

Northwestern lost 1-2 to No. 4 Maryland in overtime play just two days after their OT win against Penn State. The ‘Cats started out strong with Baekers scoring off a penalty corner in the third minute. Marshall inserted the corner, and with an assist from Kayla Blas, Baekers managed to score her 18th goal of the year and 79th of her career. Blas is tied for most assists in the Big Ten, while Baekers is the top scorer nationwide, with 1.50 goals per game.

Right after the NU goal, Maryland responded, tying up the game for the rest of regulation. The Terrapins scored two minutes into overtime, though, snatching the game from the ‘Cats. Defensively, junior goalkeeper Annabel Skubisz made 11 saves, and in the last minute, she blocked a shot off of a penalty corner to send the game into overtime. She faced a season-high number of shots from Maryland and managed to hold her own despite the final result.

Saturday, Oct. 8: No. 23 Rutgers

The ‘Cats faced another 2-1 loss when Rutgers got ahead early in Piscataway with two goals in the first quarter. After a goal at minute five, Rutgers brought the score to 2-0 with a penalty stroke goal. Halsey scored in the third quarter with a penalty stroke goal, but the ‘Cats were ultimately not able to score again. Offensively, Northwestern made 10 shots, with four shots on goal during the game. In goal, Skubisz made three saves.

Looking Ahead

This weekend, Northwestern will face off against Michigan State on Friday, Oct. 14 (2:00 p.m. CT, BTN) and No. 24 Ohio State on Sunday, October 16 (11 a.m. CT, BTN). The next game for the ‘Cats at Lakeside Field will be against No. 10 Michigan on Oct. 21.