Game Notes #5: U-M Begins Big Ten Slate at Home

Sept. 22, 2009

Friday, Sept. 25 -- vs. Iowa (Phyllis Ocker Field), 3 p.m. (Big Ten Network - tape delay)
Live StatsIowa Website
Sunday, Sept. 27 -- vs. Penn State (Phyllis Ocker Field), 1 p.m.
Live StatsPenn State Website

The University of Michigan field hockey team (2-6) kicks off the Big Ten Conference season this weekend (Sept. 25-27) in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines host Iowa at 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25, at Phyllis Ocker Field. U-M trails the Hawkeyes 14-37-0 all-time. The Big Ten Network will be covering the game on a tape-delay basis. Leah Secondo will call the play-by-play, while U-M alumna Kara Lentz (2003-06) will serve as the analyst. BTN will be airing the game for the first time on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 6 p.m.

Following an off day, the Wolverines welcome the Penn State Nittany Lions at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27. Michigan is 11-22-0 vs. Penn State in the all-time series annals.

U-M Stats: Through 9/20/09

Bryn Bain8408
Meredith Way8408

Paige Pickett82-6-02.33.714

Turning the Paige -- Watch MGoBlueTV's feature on redshirt junior Paige Laytos (Lititz, Pa./Warwick), who has overcome a pair of knee injuries in the last year. Still working her way back to full strength on the field, Laytos has never wavered in the classrooms of the Ross School of Business. [ Watch Video ]

Overtime Blues -- Michigan has come up on the wrong end of sudden-victory overtime six straight times dating back to the start of the 2008 season. The Wolverines battled No. 7 Syracuse and No. 16 Louisville into overtime last weekend only to falter, 2-1, and 3-2, respectively. In 2007, the Wolverines had a near flawless record in extra time at 7-1.

Narrow Defeat -- Four of Michigan's six losses this season have been by one goal. U-M began the season with back-to-back 2-1 defeats to North Carolina and Wake Forest. Last week, the Wolverines lost 2-1 to Syracuse and then fell 3-2 to Louisville.

Rank and File -- Six of U-M's eight opponents thus far have been against teams in the NFHCA's top 20. Michigan is 0-6 in those contests and 2-0 vs. unranked squads.

Date Opponent Result, Score
Aug. 29 -- No. 4 North Carolina - L, 2-1
Aug. 30 -- No. 2 Wake Forest - L, 2-1
Sept. 6 -- No. 1 Maryland - L, 4-1
Sept. 12 -- No. 5 Connecticut - L, 5-1
Sept. 19 -- No. 7 Syracuse- L, 2-1 OT
Sept. 20 -- No. 16 Louisville - L, 3-2 OT

Mayer Helps Out -- Junior Alicia Mayer (Selinsgrove, Pa./Selinsgrove) posted an assist in back-to-back games last week, boosting her point total for the season to six (2-2-6). She is now tied with Paige Laytos for third on U-M's points list. Mayer's two goals this season also came in succession -- vs. Wake Forest on Aug. 30 and vs. Temple on Sept. 4.

Four Score -- Junior Meredith Way (Lititz, Pa./Warwick) scored her fourth goal of the season at Louisville on Sept. 20. She is tied with sophomore Bryn Bain (Berlin, N.J./Eastern Regional) for first on the team in goals and points (8).

Sekhon's Search Ends -- Junior Vanessa Sekhon (West Vancouver, B.C./Collingwood) ended a 35-game goal drought with her marker against the Orange on Sept. 19. She had not scored since Oct. 5, 2007, against Michigan State. She is the seventh Wolverine to score a goal this season.

Tri-captains -- In April, head coach Marcia Pankratz named a trio of captains in senior Kelly Fitzpatrick (Hummelstown, Pa./Palmyra Area), Jenner Johnson (Lake Bluff, Ill./Lake Forest) and redshirt junior Paige Laytos (Lititz, Pa./Warwick). It marks the sixth time in seven years that the team's leadership is spread amongst three individuals.

Magical Marcia -- Head coach Marcia Pankratz was a standout collegian for the Iowa Hawkeyes from 1982-85. An All-American and All-Big Ten first team selection in both 1984 and 1985, Pankratz was the Big Ten's Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year in 1984. Her 76 career goals are third all-time at Iowa.

Introducing the Newcomers (Coaches Edition) -- The entirely overhauled Wolverine coaching staff has plenty of previous experience in Ann Arbor. Head coach Marcia Pankratz previously led the Maize and Blue for nine seasons from 1996-2004. She is the winningest coach in U-M field hockey history (147-55, .728 winning percentage). Pankratz led Michigan to the 2001 NCAA title and six NCAA Tournament berths in all.

Assistant coach Kristi Gannon Fisher was a two-time All-American as a back for Michigan from 2000-03. She earned All-Big Ten first team accolades all four years. She went on to become a member of the U.S. National Team from 2004-06. Fisher was a volunteer assistant for U-M during the 2006-07.

Assistant coach Ryan Langford is brand new to Ann Arbor. He has 10 years of previous assistant coaching experience at James Madison (2007-08), Temple (2005-07), Appalachian State (2000-05) and Southwest Missouri State (1999-2000). Langford spent seven years on the USA Field Hockey national team (1994-99, 2001-03).

Michigan field hockey is now on Twitter. Sign up and follow the Wolverines (Michigan_fhock) 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.

Iowa -- The Hawkeyes (2-5) snapped a brief two-game skid in decisive fashion last week, beating Saint Louis 12-0 on Sept. 19. Iowa and U-M have had two common opponents in 2009 as both teams took part in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Iowa City back in August. The Hawkeyes lost to Wake Forest, 3-2, and then got shut out, 5-0, by North Carolina. U-M lost to WF and UNC by identical 2-1 counts. Iowa's top two scorers are Jess Werley and Sarah Drake, who have identical 6-1-13 scoring lines.

Penn State --
The Nittany Lions (2-6) are coming off a 5-0 shutout of West Chester on Sept. 20. Prior to that triumph though, PSU had lost four games in a row. Penn State and Michigan have two common opponents -- Maryland and Connecticut. The Lions lost to Maryland, 8-1, and to UConn, 2-1. Michigan fell to UMD (4-1) and UConn (5-1). Christine Dudek leads PSU with seven points and is one of five players with a pair of goals.

Michigan is outside of the top 20 rankings for the second straight week. The next Kookaburra/NFHCA Division I National Coaches Poll will be released on Tuesday, Sept. 29, and the poll is available on the NFHCA's site.

Friday, Oct. 2 -- at Northwestern (Evanston, Ill.), 3 p.m. CT
Saturday, Oct. 3 -- vs. Saint Louis (Evanston, Ill.), 2 p.m. CT