Northwestern field hockey team kicks off season with strength, struggles
The Northwestern University women’s field hockey team got its regular season underway in late August when the Wildcats took on nationally ranked opponents in back-to-back games.
The Wildcats opened with a strong game against the No. 13 Stanford Cardinal. Eva van Agt scored a first-half goal that came off a penalty corner in the second minute of the game. Puck Pentenga flicked the ball to van Agt, who slotted the ball past Stanford’s goalie.
The Wildcats controlled much of the play in the first half, outshooting the Cardinal 9-2. Stanford played better n the second half but was unable to score against the tough Wildcat defense.
Following the win against Stanford, the Wildcats faced off against the UConn Huskies but couldn't reproduce their strong performance, getting blown out, 7-0. The Huskies put three goals past the Wildcats keeper in the first half and four goals in the second.
Despite the loss, Northwestern goalie Annie Kalfas recorded 10 saves. UConn outshot the Wildcats 25-7.
After closing out August at 1-1, the Wildcats headed to Rhode Island, where they topped the Providence Friars 4-0, outshooting the Friars 16-6 and recording 11 shots on goal. Northwestern’s first goal of the match came in the fourth minute off a penalty corner. This time, Pentenga was on the scoring end, with an assist from Kirsten Mansfield and Sophia Miller. The Wildcats struck again seven minutes later when Mackenzie Keegan slotted home the second goal of the game.
Following the victory over Providence, head coach Tracey Fuchs said in a press release that she was pleased with the way the team had performed.
“The players made some nice adjustments," she said in the release. "I thought our defense played quite well today and we were able to capitalize on our opportunities up front. We're looking forward to the Big Ten/ACC Cup and we know we need the same effort we brought today."
Northwestern plays its first home game of the year against Temple on Friday, the start of a four-game home stand that will also see Kent State, Ohio State and Louisville come to town.
The Wildcats wrap up the regular season on Oct. 22 against Michigan State University.