Week #4: U-M to Welcome Saint Louis, No. 23 Fairfield to Ocker Field

Sept. 11, 2012

Inside Michigan Field Hockey

Saturday, Sept. 15 -- vs. Saint Louis (Phyllis Ocker Field), 1 p.m.
Free Admission | Live Scoring | Promotions: Football Ticket Rewards
Sunday, Sept. 16 -- vs. No. 23 Fairfield (Phyllis Ocker Field), Noon
Free Admission | Live Scoring | Promotions: Team Day, Kids Go Blue Club Day

The No. 16-ranked University of Michigan field hockey team (3-3) returns home this weekend to host a pair on non-conference games at Phyllis Ocker Field. The Wolverines will face Saint Louis at 1 p.m. on Saturday (Sept. 15) before wrapping the weekend with a noon slate against No. 23 Fairfield on Sunday (Sept. 16). U-M is 2-0 this season at Ocker Field.

The two visiting teams will play each other in a 1 p.m. neutral-site contest on Friday (Sept. 14).

Saint Louis -- The Billikens enter the weekend with a 0-7 record after falling to Missouri State (4-2, Sept. 7) and Georgetown (4-1, Sept. 9) at home last weekend. Lisa Smith and Tori Lycett currently lead SLU with three goals apiece, while goalkeeper Meg Depew-Brady owns a 5.33 goals-against average and .554 save percentage. Michigan is 8-1-1 in the all-time series against Saint Louis. The Wolverines have won seven in a row, including a 7-0 decision in the most-recent meetings on Oct. 3, 2009.

Fairfield -- The Stags debuted at the No. 23 in the latest NFHCA national rankings after kicking off the season with a 4-2 record, including wins over Lehigh (4-2, Sept. 7) and St. Joseph's (2-1, Sept. 9) last weekend. Felicitas Heinen boasts seven goals and three assists to lead the Fairfield squad, while goalkeeper Maddy Sposito owns a 2.55 GAA and .676 save percentage. Sunday's match will mark the first-ever meeting between Michigan and Fairfield. The Wolverines are 18-7 all time against teams from the America East Conference with wins against Maine and Albany already this season.

Complete Stats: Through Sept. 8

REWIND: U-M Splits Weekend Series in Albany
The Wolverines split a pair of road contests against ranked opposition last weekend, defeating No. 21 Albany (2-1 OT, Sept. 7) before falling to No. 7 Connecticut (2-1, Sept. 8) in Albany, N.Y. Michigan gave up late goals in both contests but rebounded in overtime against the host Great Danes, who tied the game with just 39 seconds remaining, as freshman Lauren Thomas (Aylesbury, England/Aylesbury HS) notched her first collegiate goal to seal the Wolverine win at 76:46. Junior Rachael Mack (Bromsgrove, England/Bromsgrove School) scored two goals on the weekend, including the game-tying tally midway through the second half against UConn. The Huskies responded with another goal at 62:59 to take the match. [ Recaps: Albany | Connecticut ]

A Familiar Feeling -- Junior Rachael Mack (Bromsgrove, England/Bromsgrove School), Michigan's leading scorer in each of the last two years, notched her first two goals of the season in U-M's weekend road trip (Sept. 7-8), scoring one marker apiece against No. 21 Albany and No. 7 Connecticut. Mack upped her career goal total to 35 over her three collegiate seasons. She needs just one more to crack the top 10 among Michigan's all-time leading goal scorers. Two-time All-American Stephanie Johnson (2000-03) currently holds the 10th spot with 36.

Saving Grace -- After facing no shots on goals in U-M's opening homestand the previous weekend (Sept. 1-2), senior/junior goalkeeper Haley Jones (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS) boasted a career-best 11 saves in both of Michigan's recent road games. With the weekend effort, she upped her season total to 38 and improved her save percentage to .792. After entering the year with personal single-game standard of eight saves, Jones has exceeded her previous best three times this season, recording nine saves at Wake Forest on Aug. 26 before twice recording 11 over the weekend.

A Glorious Game-Winner -- Freshman Lauren Thomas (Aylesbury, England/Aylesbury HS) collected her first collegiate goal on an overtime penalty-corner opportunity to propel the Wolverines to a 2-1 decision at No. 21 Albany (Sept. 7). Thomas scored on the direct shot of U-M's first corner of the overtime frame, rocketing a low shot past the Great Dane goalkeeper to end the game at the 76:46 mark. She is the second Wolverine rookie to notch the game-winner on her first goal; freshman Shannon Scavelli (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Lakeland Shrub Oak HS) posted the winning goal in the first half against Maine on Sept. 2.

Needing Extra Time -- Michigan was victorious in its first overtime game of the season, defeating No. 21 Albany, 2-1, on a penalty corner at 76:46. Over the last three seasons, the Wolverines have posted a stellar 8-1 overtime record, including a perfect 5-0 mark in 2010. U-M was 0-3 in overtime games the previous year (2009).

Setting Goals -- Eight different Wolverine players have scored this season, including five who have registered their first collegiate goal -- senior Liesl Morris (Lafayette, N.J./The Taft School), junior/sophomore Sammy Gray (Wilmette, Ill./North Shore Country Day School) and freshmen Aisling Naughton (Goatstown, Ireland/Mount Anville Secondary), Shannon Scavelli and Lauren Thomas.

It's Tricky -- Junior/sophomore Leslie Smith scored three of Michigan's four goals against Delaware on 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 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.

Homecoming -- The Wolverines opened the home portion of their 2012 schedule with back-to-back wins against Delaware (4-1, Sept. 1) and Maine (2-0, Sept. 2). 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.

Shutdown and Shutout -- Senior/junior goalkeeper Haley Jones recorded the eighth shutout of her collegiate career in U-M's 2-0 win against Maine (Sept. 2). The Wolverine backfield held its opposition to eight shots -- and just one on goal -- over the weekend homestand vs. Delaware and Maine.

In the Polls -- After splitting its weekend matches, Michigan dropped a position, falling to the No. 16 spot, in the latest Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I preseason poll, release Tuesday (Sept. 11). Five of U-M's six opponents this season are ranked, including current No. 1 North Carolina and No. 5 Connecticut. 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 187-86 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.

Facebook: Connect with the program, alumni and fans by clicking the "Like" button at facebook.com/michiganfieldhockey. Facebook is a social network service and website with more than 500 million active users.

Twitter: Sign up and follow the Wolverines (umichfldhockey) with up-to-the-minute news and information throughout the season and beyond. Twitter is a free casual, online social network that is designed to connect businesses, organizations and individuals. Each Twitter post (or "tweet") can be received on a user's cell phone via text or on the web.

Saturday, Sept. 22 -- at Bucknell (Lewisburg, Pa.), Noon
Sunday, Sept. 23 -- at Penn State (State College, Pa.), Noon

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423