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ROUNDTABLE: How will field hockey fare in the Final Four?

Unanimous... shocker.

Ryan Kuttler / Northwestern Athletics

Northwestern field hockey headed to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where they’ll participate in the Final Four to try and win its second national title in three years. Some of our staffers predicted how the Wildcats would do, and needless to say, it’s unanimous (and for good reason):

Iggy Dowling: Win in final, Northwestern wins over North Carolina

The one concern about Northwestern heading into the postseason was that maybe a win streak approaching 20 games would make it difficult for the ‘Cats to survive a tight postseason game where they needed to come from behind. Well, NU silenced those doubts against Louisville to get to Chapel Hill, and dished out a cold plate of revenge.

I think the Wildcats will serve the Tar Heels another one on the road, and avenge their title game loss from 2022. They’ve already beaten Duke, and UNC’s defense hasn’t been awesome (just one shutout since Sept. 22). I think North Carolina’s going to have to hold Northwestern to one goal to prevail, and Maryland is the only team that has done that in the last month. Tracey Fuchs will take home her second title in purple and white, and the 2023 team will solidify itself as the best in program history. (Side-note: Two titles in three years is the prerequisite for dynasty talk, too.)

Bradley Locker: Win in final, Northwestern wins over North Carolina

This Northwestern field hockey team just has a sense of inevitability to it, passing every challenge with flying colors and never surrendering confidence — the team’s Elite Eight win over Louisville perfectly encapsulated that. Yes, UNC is phenomenal (as it is in basically every stick sport), but the ‘Cats do have extra motivation to a) take down the reigning champs, b) do so in their domain and c) prove that they were worthy of the No. 1 seed. Betting against Tracey Fuchs’ squad — which combines veteran prowess and impactful youngsters — feels like a very bad idea.

Yanyan Li: Win in final, Northwestern wins over North Carolina

The train of momentum just won’t stop for Northwestern. It hasn’t lost a game in over two months, which is something that applies to no other team, even No. 1 UNC. From utter domination to last-minute Cardiac ‘Cats-esque goals, the Wildcats just seem to find so many different creative ways of winning. I don’t see any team stopping them soon, and I think they’ll be the last ones standing.

I know it’s not good to predict things based on superstition, but it’s also worth noting that the Wildcats’ season feels eerily similar to that of Northwestern lacrosse’s last spring.

Ashleigh Provoost: Win in final, Northwestern wins over UVA

Northwestern is on a roll, to put it lightly. It’s absolutely stormed through both the regular season and the postseason, its first loss of the season certainly not setting the tone for what was to come. Winning against Louisville this weekend tasted sweet, for sure, but the team is cooking up two more.

I sense a shocker coming up in the tournament from UVA — they already hut out Maryland, a team that toughly contested the ‘Cats in both of their matchups — and, clearly, home field advantage didn’t mean a thing to the Cavaliers as they waltzed their way into the semifinal. I think the upsets stop there, though — Tracey Fuchs will lead her Wildcats all the way.

Dylan Friedland: Win in final, Northwestern wins over UNC

Northwestern is a team that has seemingly only gotten better as the year has gone on. Its ability to score off of penalty corners has clearly improved and will be a major factor in these final games. In their only loss of the year against Louisville, the ‘Cats went 0-8 on corners but in their most recent game, converted on three of seven opportunities. They will have to continue succeeding in a similar way in order to bring home the national championship but Ilse Tromp and Lauren Wadas are certainly up for the task.

The Wildcats are looking for revenge after losing to UNC in last year’s championship game as well as missing out on the No. 1 overall seed. I think that while the games may be low-scoring, Northwestern’s defense and Annabel Skubisz will hold strong and complete a historic season, bringing a national championship back to Evanston and finishing off the revenge.

Adam Beck: Win in final, Northwestern wins over UNC

The ‘Cats have a chip on their shoulder colored Carolina blue. They’ll take care of business against a solid Duke squad and get their revenge against the team that ended their title hopes a year ago. This team is built to win national championships, to beat UNC and ready to win its second title in three seasons. Playing the entire year to get to this moment, Tracey Fuchs has this squad sitting at 20 straight wins and they’re not about to slow down now.

Brendan Preisman: Win in finals, Northwestern wins over UNC

This Northwestern team has the best scoring margin in the country, winning by an average of 2.23 goals per game. Other nation-leading stats include shutouts (12) and save percentage (87.8%). The team is also second in penalty corners per game and 13th in scoring average, proving their offensive mettle as well. Don’t let the Tar Heels’ ranking fool you: this Northwestern team is the best in the nation, and their senior-laden lineup has hit another gear offensively in the last month. Also, Northwestern’s duo of freshman phenomena, Olivia Bent-Cole and Ilse Tromp, have proven their game-breaking capabilities several times over. With Annabel Skubisz in goal, this is a team that has proven nearly impossible to beat. That trend will hold for two more games, and the championship trophy will return to Evanston, where it belongs.