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Field Hockey: ‘Cats cruise to seven straight wins

The third-best team in the nation had no problem finding the backboards.

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In its first homestand of the season, Northwestern field hockey did not disappoint. The Wildcats took down Indiana 5-0, and the University of Pennsylvania 3-1, to extend their winning streak to seven straight after dropping the first of the season.

The ‘Cats wasted no time in the home opener, with Peyton Halsey scoring just 59 seconds in. That set the tone of the game, as Northwestern held possession for most of the match and did not allow the Hoosiers a single shot in the first half. The Wildcats also kept the Hoosiers from a corner until the second half and only surrendered two, while they earned seven.

Olivia Bent-Cole scored the second goal of the game toward the end of the first quarter, corralling a pass from Lindsey Frank outside of the circle and taking on her defender head-on. The first year continues to be a pivotal piece of this Northwestern squad, and it’s no wonder why.

In the second quarter, Lane Herbert scored off a penalty corner and flashing a reverse sweep. Halsey, assisted by Wadas, notched her second of the game and moved to a team-leading six goals. The offensive onslaught didn’t stop there, with Maja Zivojnovic scoring off another penalty, with help from Wadas and Alia Marshall.

The dominance carried over to Sunday against the Quakers, and the star of the game was Herbert. The junior notched goals in the first and third quarters, for her third of the weekend and fourth of the season — already tying her 2023 total, just eight games in. The first came off a redirected pass from Frank, and the second came off of a reverse sweep, what seems to be a signature move, assisted by Aerin Krys.

Zivojnovic also scored her second of the weekend, which similarly came off of a corner with assists from Wadas and Marshall. She and Hebert are tied for second in goals at four, behind Halsey.

The defense also was once again steadfast, surrendering just one corner and a goal with 10 minutes left. Up until that fourth quarter, the Wildcats were held scoreless for 18 consecutive corners, making the program’s longest streak since 1993.

These two rather commanding wins left Tracey Fuchs with a lot to be positive about. Halsey’s veteran presence goes hand-in-hand with her being an incredible offensive asset, and Wadas and Marshall continue to lead the team. But, even more to be positive about: Herbert, Zivojnovic and Bent-Cole have proved their talent and their capabilities. Herbert’s faced limited minutes in the past, and Zivojnovic was sidelined for most of her first year, but along with the first-year Bent-Cole, they are key members of the roster.

Another positive: shooting accuracy. the ‘Cats outshot both Indiana and Pennsylvania in outstanding fashion with a 15-4 and 25-4 margin, respectively. Of Northwestern’s shots, 10 of the 15 and 14 of the 25 were on goal. A pretty admirable proportion.

The No. 3 team in the nation will look to continue its success this weekend. The ‘Cats will head to Columbus to face Ohio State on Friday and return to the shores of Lake Michigan for a match against Princeton on Sunday.