Game Notes #6: Michigan Goes to Evanston for a Pair

Sept. 29, 2009

Friday, Sept. Oct. 2 -- at Northwestern (Evanston, Ill.), 3 p.m.
Live StatsNorthwestern Website
Saturday, Oct. 3 -- vs. Saint Louis (Evanston, Ill.), 2 p.m.
Saint Louis Website

The University of Michigan field hockey team (3-7, 1-1 Big Ten) travels to Evanston, Ill., this weekend (Oct. 2-3) for a pair of games at Lakeside Field. First up is a Big Ten contest against No. 17 Northwestern (9-3, 0-1 Big Ten) at 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 2. U-M trails the Wildcats 19-28-0 all-time but has won 17 straight games against NU dating back to 1997. The Wildcats won the first 23 meetings from 1980-1993.

The Wolverines will stay in Evanston to take on the Saint Louis Billikens (1-7) at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday, Oct. 3. Michigan leads the all-time series with SLU at 7-1-1, winning the last six meetings. Michigan beat St. Louis 10-0 a year ago.

U-M Stats: Through 9/27/09

Meredith Way107014
Bryn Bain105111

Paige Pickett103-7-02.16.731

10th Shutout for Pickett -- Fifth-year senior goalie Paige Pickett (Dallas, Texas/Episcopal School of Dallas) recorded her 10th career shutout with an eight-save performance in Michigan's 2-0 win vs. Penn State on Sept. 27. She has two shutouts this season; she also blanked Ball State on Sept. 13.

Way Ahead -- Junior Meredith Way (Newmanstown, Pa./Lititz) notched the fourth multi-goal game of her career on Sept. 27 by scoring both of U-M's goals in a 2-0 win against the visiting Nittany Lions. She had two hat tricks and another two-goal effort during her sophomore campaign.

Way had a three-goal weekend against Iowa and Penn State. She posted one goal against the Hawkeyes on Sept. 25 and then had a two-goal outburst vs. PSU on Sept. 27. As a result, Way now leads U-M in goals (7) and points (14). With 10 regular-season games remaining, she is on pace to set a single-season best in goals after tallying 12 last season.

Helping Out -- Junior/sophomore Katie Adams (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) leads the Wolverines with four assists on the year after adding a helper in each of U-M's games against Iowa (Sept. 25) and Penn State (Sept. 27). She needs just one more point to tie her season total from a season ago.

Making an Impression -- Sophomore Bryn Bain (Berlin, N.J./Eastern Regional) earned her first start of the season on Sept. 25 against the Hawkeyes. During the first half, she posted a goal and an assist to briefly take over the team lead in points with 11 (5-1-11). Following Meredith Way's two-goal game on Sept. 27, Bain dropped back into second place for U-M in goals and points.

Narrow Defeat
-- U-M's 3-2 loss to Iowa on Sept. 25 was its third consecutive defeat by one goal. In fact, five of U-M's seven losses this year have been by a single tally. U-M began the season with back-to-back 2-1 defeats to North Carolina and Wake Forest. Two weeks ago, the Wolverines lost 2-1 (OT) to Syracuse and then fell 3-2 (OT) to Louisville.

Rank and File -- Six of U-M's 10 opponents thus far have been against teams in the NFHCA's top 20. Michigan is 0-6 in those contests and 3-1 vs. unranked squads.

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

Co-captains -- Senior Jenner Johnson (Lake Bluff, Ill./Lake Forest) and senior/junior Paige Laytos (Lititz, Pa./Warwick) make up Michigan's leadership duo. Johnson is U-M's anchor on the back line after starting 19 of 20 games for the Wolverines as a junior. Laytos redshirted the 2008 season due to a knee injury that limited her to just three games. She has started 45 out of a possible 46 games in her career, accumulating eight goals and 10 assists from her midfield position.

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.

Northwestern -- The Wildcats (9-3, 0-1 Big Ten) have won five of their last six games. The lone loss was to Michigan State (5-2) in NU's Big Ten opener on Sept. 25. Northwestern rebounded with an overtime win (3-2) against Maine on Sept. 26. Northwestern has played just two ranked opponents thus far. NU lost to Maryland (7-2) in late August and to the Spartans last weekend. The Wildcats' coaching staff has deep Michigan roots. Northwestern's top scorer is Chelsea Armstrong, who leads the country in goals with 19. With an additional seven assists she boasts 45 points overall. NU's next-best scorer is Courtney Plaster (6-3-15).

Saint Louis -- The Billikens (1-7) have lost their last five outings. Most recently, they lost 4-3 in overtime to Bellarmine on Sept. 27. Saint Louis and Michigan have two common opponents -- Louisville and Iowa. The Billikens lost 13-0 to the Cardinals on Sept. 13 and 12-0 to Iowa on Sept. 19. SLU has struggled offensively, averaging just 0.75 goals per game at this point. Nicole Kent is the only SLU player with more than two points -- she has a goal and an assist.

Michigan is out of the top 20 rankings for the third straight week. The Wolverines are fourth among teams also receiving votes, trailing Indiana, American and Delaware. The next Kookaburra/NFHCA Division I National Coaches Poll will be released on Tuesday, Oct. 6, and the poll is available on the NFHCA's site.

Saturday, Oct. 10 -- at Harvard (Cambridge, Mass.), Noon
Sunday, Oct. 11 -- vs. New Hampshire (Cambridge, Mass.), 1 p.m.