Friday, Sept. 7 -- at No. 21 Albany (Albany, N.Y.), 2 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 8 -- vs. No. 7 Connecticut (Albany, N.Y.), 2 p.m.
The No. 15-ranked University of Michigan field hockey team (2-2) returns to the road this weekend, heading to Albany, N.Y., to face a pair of ranked non-conference opponents. U-M squares off against No. 21 Albany at 2 p.m. on Friday (Sept. 7) and No. 7 Connecticut at 2 p.m. on Saturday (Sept. 8). Both games will be hosted at the Great Danes' Alumni Turf.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
Albany -- The Great Danes enter the weekend with a 2-1 record after edging Hofstra, 3-1, in their home opener last Friday (Aug. 31). Albany also owns a 3-2 shootout victory over common opponent Delaware. Three different Albany players boast a pair of goals on the season, including former Penn State All-American Jessica Longstreth, who leads the team with two goals and two assists. Albany head coach Phil Sykes is in ninth season at the helm. Michigan is 1-1 in the all-time series against the Great Danes, claiming the most-recent meeting, 4-3 in double overtime, at home on Sept. 18, 2010.
Connecticut -- The Huskies are 3-0 on the season, earning a 2-1 win over Penn State last Friday (Aug. 31) after opening with back-to-back shutouts against Bucknell (3-0, Aug. 25) and Sacred Heart (8-0, Aug. 26). Marie Elena Bolles leads the UConn team with four goals and three assists, while Chloe Hunnable boasts three goals. Seven different Husky players own at least one marker on the season. Head coach Nancy Stevens boasts a stellar 354-118-8 record in her 23rd season at the helm of the UConn program. Michigan trails in the all-time series against Connecticut, 5-3, and has lost the last five meetings, including a 2-0 defeat in the most-recent match-up on Sept. 5, 2010.
MICHIGAN BY THE NUMBERS:
Complete Stats: Through Sept. 2
REWIND: U-M Downs Delaware, Maine in First Homestand
The Wolverines posted a perfect opening homestand last weekend (Sept. 1-2), earning wins against Delaware (4-1) and Maine (2-0) to even their season record at 2-2. Junior/sophomore Leslie Smith (Hummelstown, Pa./Hershey HS) netted a hat trick to headline the Wolverines' win against Delaware, while freshman Shannon Scavelli (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Lakeland Shrub Oak HS) and senior Liesl Morris (Lafayette, N.J./The Taft School) both earned their first collegiate goals in U-M's win vs. the Black Bears. The Wolverines allowed just one shot on goal in the weekend homestand.
It's Tricky -- Junior/sophomore Leslie Smith scored three of Michigan's four goals against Delaware last Saturday (Sept. 1), scoring off a pair of penalty-corner opportunities and a second-half penalty stroke to register the first hat trick of her career. The Wolverine sophomore entered the season with just two career goals. It was the program's first hat trick since junior Rachael Mack (Bromsgrove, England/Bromsgrove School) notched three goals against New Hampshire in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Mack boasts four career hat tricks, while sophomore Emy Guttman (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS) owns one.
Shutdown and Shutout -- Senior/junior Haley Jones (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS) recorded the eighth shutout of her collegiate career in U-M's 2-0 win against Maine last Sunday (Sept. 2). The Wolverine backfield held its opposition to eight shots -- and just one on goal -- over the weekend homestand.
Setting Goals -- Six different Wolverine players have scored this season, including four who have registered their first collegiate goal -- senior Liesl Morris, junior/sophomore Sammy Gray (Wilmette, Ill./North Shore Country Day School) and freshmen Aisling Naughton (Goatstown, Ireland/Mount Anville Secondary) and Shannon Scavelli.
Homecoming -- The Wolverines opened the home portion of their 2012 schedule with back-to-back wins. With the victories, Michigan improved to 124-42 record at its home facility since its 1995 inauguration, including an 11-7 mark in home openers at Ocker Field. Last season, six of the Wolverines' 10 home games were against ranked teams, including three ranked among the nation's top 10. U-M completed the home portion of its schedule with an 8-2 mark and five shutout victories, outscoring its opponents 28-12 at Ocker Field.
In the Polls -- After splitting its opening four matches, Michigan dropped several positions -- to the No. 15 spot -- in the latest Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I preseason poll, release Tuesday (Sept. 4). The Wolverines' season-opening opponent, North Carolina, took over the No. 1 position, while Big Ten rival Michigan State, who U-M defeated 2-1 in preseason exhibition action, made its rankings debut at the No. 20 slot. Five conference schools remain ranked among the nation's top-25 teams. For the complete NFHCA team rankings, visit NFHCA.org .
Calling the Shots -- Head coach Marcia Pankratz is in her 13th season as head coach of the Michigan field hockey team, compiling a 186-85 record, including a 57-25 Big Ten mark over her tenure. A five-time Big Ten Coach of the Year honoree, Pankratz has guided the Wolverines to seven Big Ten regular-season titles and four tournament crowns and, in 2001, led U-M to the NCAA title -- the first by a women's team in the history of Michigan athletics. During her tenure, Michigan had 17 different players combine for 26 All-America citations. U-M also claimed 12 Big Ten Player of the Year awards -- offensive, defensive and athlete -- and Wolverine players swept the yearly honors in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
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Saturday, Sept. 15 -- vs. St. Louis (Phyllis Ocker Field), 1 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 16 -- vs. Fairfield (Phyllis Ocker Field), Noon
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423