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2023 Northwestern field hockey player previews: Returning contributors and reserves

Tracey Fuchs will have most of her 2022 supporting cast at her disposal again.

Stephen J. Carrera

Northwestern field hockey’s first exhibition game against Michigan State is now exactly two weeks away! We already started previewing the roster by dissecting the NCAA finalists’ newcomers on Friday; now it’s time to look at some of the returning contributors who either played as reserves in 2022 or will take on significantly larger roles in 2023.

It’s worth noting that the criteria for this is very subjective — this will include returning players who started fewer than 20 games for the ‘Cats in 2022, which means there are a few returning starters here who may have missed some time last fall.

Probable 2023 starters

M Chloe Relford (SR)

The rising senior played in every single game in 2022, and she started in 10 of them. Relford took on huge minutes down the stretch, even playing the full 60 against UNC in the national title. Given Relford played at her best in the clutch, that growing role made sense; she buried an empty-net insurance goal late in the Final Four against Maryland, which sent Northwestern to its second straight national title game.

Although Bente Baekers is gone, NU will return most of its midfield. That leaves a ton of goal-scoring production up for grabs alongside Peyton Halsey and incoming first-year Olivia Bent-Cole. She put 15 of her 21 shots on goal in 2022, which was the best mark among all non-backs on the team. Maintaining that clip isn’t impossible for Relford, even if she starts every game for the ‘Cats this fall.

M Regan Cornelius (JR)

Cornelius also played her way into the starting lineup as the season drew on. Like Relford, she appeared in every game and remained in Tracey Fuchs’ starting 11 through the final 13 games. While she didn’t score, she put up 732 total minutes (eighth among all returners). By helping generate and maintain extra possessions for Northwestern, Cornelius contributed to the team’s 12-4 record in one-score games. If the scoring load falls more on Halsey and Bent-Cole, it’ll be crucial for the other midfielders to give them as many chances as possible.

B Maja Zivojnovic (SO)

Starting from Day One on any collegiate team is no joke. As a true freshman for a defending national champion, though? That’s another story. Zivojnovic started the first 11 games at center back, and she was the only first-year on the team to even start at all. She played a huge role in Northwestern’s 10-1 start — which featured eight wins over top 25 opponents — before she suffered an injury against Penn State that ended her season.

The Rotterdam native should be a vital component of a defense that will lose Second Team All-American Kayla Blas. Alongside Alia Marshall, Zivojnovic is a very good facilitator, which should make NU’s backs one of the country’s most talented position groups. NU went its last 14 games without giving up more than two goals, which makes Zivojnovic’s return all the more exciting.

M/B Lauren Hunter (JR)

Hunter played in every game, and started eight of them. She also appeared in 23 contests as a first-year on the national championship-winning squad, which makes it pretty likely that she’ll slide into the starting lineup in 2023. Hunter’s versatility was valuable in 2022, especially as a sub. Most of her starts came in early November during Big Ten play, and she battled through 55 minutes in the UNC loss.

Key subs

M Lane Herbert (JR)

Herbert was a focal point of the offense as a sub, both as a passer and a scorer. She finished fourth on the team with five assists in 2022, even though she played just over half as many minutes as the three players above her. Herbert put up 20 shots on goal — four of which found the net. For a team that will need to find new ways to generate offense, Herbert’s presence could be crucial. Whether or not she starts, count on Fuchs to find ways to get the midfielder ample chances.

M Katie Jones (SR)

Jones played in 22 games and started six of them. She had strong showings in early September, and punctuated her season with four shots (three on-goal) in Northwestern’s shootout win over Miami (OH) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Jones’ pressure on the defense mirrored NU’s; the Wildcats outshot the RedHawks 27-9 in their matchup. More scoring opportunities in Big Ten play could be coming Jones’ way.

M Jordan Carr (SR)

Carr appeared in 12 games for NU’s crowded midfield. She played big minutes in wins at Michigan State and Ohio State in mid-October. While there’s a good chance that Carr comes off the bench again, she could move into the role that Jones played last year (giving her a significant boost in playing time).

M/B Greta Hinke (SO)

Hinke appeared in all 25 games as a first-year, and she was a crucial sub for NU in late September and early October. That’s when the Wisconsinite received most of her playing time. Blas’s departure moves everyone up the depth chart on the back line, so Hinke could be in line for more opportunities in her second season.

F Aerin Krys (SO)

Even as a first-year who didn’t play a ton, Krys found herself in some very high-leverage situations. Both of Northwestern’s first two NCAA Tournament games — against Miami (OH) and Iowa — came down to shootouts. Krys had to take two penalty shots...and she made both of them.

Depending on how Fuchs wants to structure her offense without Baekers in the fold, Krys could leap up the depth chart if Northwestern doesn’t deploy too many of its midfielders as forwards. Don’t be surprised if she becomes a starter or super-sub as NU gets closer to the postseason.

M Amelia Albers (Redshirt FR)

Albers didn’t play in her first season with the program, but could find herself stepping into a key role as a sub in 2023. As a high-schooler, she earned All-State honors in Michigan twice, and she has an ice hockey background that’s almost as extensive as her field hockey resume. Albers won two straight state titles on the ice for East Grand Rapids High School.


M Maggie Powers (SR)

Powers briefly appeared in three early-season games in 2022. As previously stated, the fact that Fuchs will retain most of her key midfielders from the run to the national championship makes it difficult for Powers to move up the depth chart.

M/F Lila Slattery (SR)

Slattery saw action in the same three games that Powers did: against Maine, Boston College and Richmond early in the year.

M/B Sophie Dix (JR)

Dix only appeared in one game, but that happened to be Northwestern’s Final Four tilt against Maryland. Her versatility has helped her thrive on U16, U17 and U19 national teams for her home country of Ireland.

GK Jamie Marold (SR)

Annabel Skubisz played nearly every minute of Northwestern’s 2022 season, and that’ll likely be the case again in 2023 assuming she stays healthy. Marold is a very solid backup should anything happen, though. She was a top 50 recruit in high school according to MAX Field Hockey, and made two starts in 2021.