Sept. 18, 2012
The No. 17-ranked University of Michigan field hockey team (5-3, 0-0 Big Ten) heads to the Keystone State for matches at Bucknell (5-3) at Graham Field at Holmes Stadium in Lewisburg, Pa., and No. 6 Penn State (8-2, 0-0 Big Ten) at Penn State Field Hockey Complex in State College, Pa. The Wolverines will face Bucknell at noon on Saturday (Sept. 22) before wrapping the weekend with a noon slate at PSU on Sunday (Sept. 23). U-M is 1-3 on the road this season.
The Wolverines enter Big Ten Conference play as the two-time defending champion after posting similar 5-1 league records in each of the last two seasons. Michigan boasts eight Big Ten titles in program history, including four outright trophies. U-M is 16-12-2 all-time in Big Ten openers.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
Bucknell -- The Bison enter the weekend with a 5-3 record after settling for a split this past weekend, defeating Towson (6-0, Sept. 15) before falling to Ohio State (3-1, Sept. 16) at home. Tayler Siegrist, Rachel Misko and Kiersten Sydnor currently lead Bucknell with three goals apiece, while goalkeeper Erica Perrine owns a 1.73 goals-against average and .745 save percentage. Michigan is 1-0 in the all-time series against the Bison, earning a 5-0 shutout victory at Ocker Field last season in the only previous meeting.
Penn State -- The Nittany Lions are currently ranked No. 6 in the latest NFHCA national rankings after completing a weekend sweep this past weekend with an 8-0 win at Lehigh (Sept. 14) and a 7-1 win at Monmouth [N.J.] (Sept. 15). Kelsey Amy boasts 12 goals and three assists to lead the Penn State squad, while goalkeeper Ayla Halus owns a 1.48 GAA and .745 save percentage. The Wolverines trail 23-15 in the all-time series against PSU and saw their four-match win series streak snapped at the 2011 Big Ten Tournament, where the Nittany Lions earned a 3-2 decision in the semifinal round.
MICHIGAN BY THE NUMBERS:
Complete Stats: Through Sept. 16
REWIND: U-M Sweeps Weekend Series at Home
The Wolverines won a pair of contests at Ocker Field this weekend, defeating Saint Louis (6-2, Sept. 15) and No. 23 Fairfield (5-0, Sept. 16) to remain perfect at home. The bulk of U-M's came in the second half of each contest, in which the Wolverines outscored its weekend opposition, 9-1. Junior Rachael Mack (Bromsgrove, England/Bromsgrove School) headlined Wolverine offense with five goals over the weekend, including a hat trick in the first game against Saint Louis, while sophomore Axelle Wouters (Antwerp, Belgium/Onze Lieve Vrouwe Antwerp) posted three goals over the homestand, including two against the Stags. [ Recaps: Saint Louis | Fairfield ]
A Familiar Feeling -- Junior Rachael Mack (Bromsgrove, England/Bromsgrove School), Michigan's leading scorer in each of the last two years, notched five goals over the weekend (Sept. 15-16), scoring a hat trick against Saint Louis and posting two goals against No. 23 Fairfield. Mack upped her career goal total to 40 over her three collegiate seasons and moved to sixth among Michigan's all-time leaders in the category, where she is tied with Dawn Kohut (1976-77). She needs four more to reach the fifth spot, currently held by Molly Powers (44, 1999-2002).
Weekly Warrior -- Freshman Aisling Naughton (Goatstown, Ireland/Mount Anville Secondary) was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Tuesday (Sept. 18) in recognition of her five-point weekend effort at home. Naughton notched a goal apiece in game vs. Saint Louis and Fairfield and added a second-half assist -- the first of her collegiate career -- in the latter contest. The weekly award is the first for the Wolverines this season.
Back and Better Than Ever -- Sophomore Axelle Wouters scored three goals in the weekend homestand, including two against No. 23 Fairfield last Sunday (Sept. 16) for her third career multi-goal effort. The Wolverine sophomore missed U-M's first four games while participating in the Junior European Championships with the Belgium Under-21 team. She has started each of the last three contests.
Setting Goals -- Ten different Wolverine players have scored this season, including six 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), sophomore/freshman Lauren Kent (Los Gatos, Calif./Los Gatos) and freshmen Aisling Naughton (Goatstown, Ireland/Mount Anville Secondary), Shannon Scavelli and Lauren Thomas.
It's Tricky -- Junior Rachael Mack scored Michigan's first three goals in its 6-2 rout against Saint Louis (Sept. 15) to secure the fifth hat trick of her collegiate career. The hat trick was also the second for U-M this season. Junior/sophomore Leslie Smith (Hummelstown, Pa./Hershey HS) scored three goals in the home opener vs. Delaware. Sophomore Emy Guttman (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer HS) is the only other current Wolverine to boast a collegiate hat trick; she scored three of U-M's five goals in a 5-0 shutout against Bucknell last season.
Homecoming -- The Wolverines remain undefeated at home in 2012 after back-to-back wins against Saint Louis (6-2, Sept. 15) and No. 23 Fairfield (5-0, Sept. 16). With the victories, Michigan improved to 126-42 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 ninth shutout of her collegiate career in U-M's 5-0 win against No. 23 Fairfield (Sept. 16). The Wolverine backfield held its opposition to just two goals over the weekend homestand vs. Saint Louis and Fairfield.
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 saves nine at Wake Forest (Aug. 26) before twice recording 11 over the weekend.
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).
In the Polls -- Despite sweeping its weekend homestand, Michigan dropped a position, falling to the No. 17 spot, in the latest Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I preseason poll, release Tuesday (Sept. 18). Four of U-M's eight opponents this season remain ranked, including current No. 1 North Carolina and No. 5 Connecticut. Six Big Ten Conference schools appear 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 189-86 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.
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Friday, Sept. 28 -- vs. Pacific (Ocker Field), 4 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 5 -- vs. Northwestern (Ocker Field), 4 p.m.
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423