Oct. 9, 2012
The No. 16-ranked University of Michigan field hockey team (7-5, 0-2 Big Ten) will continue Big Ten Conference play this weekend with a pair of rivalry contests at Phyllis Ocker Field. The Wolverines will face No. 19 Michigan State (8-6, 2-2 Big Ten) for their annual pink game at 3 p.m. on Friday (Oct. 12). The match will be aired live on the Big Ten Network. Michigan will wrap up its four-game homestand on Sunday (Oct. 14), hosting No. 18 Ohio State at 1 p.m. The Wolverines own a 5-1 record in home games this season.
Friday's match against Michigan has been designated the team's "Pink Game." Join us as the Wolverines and Spartans team up to raise breast cancer awareness! Both teams will be wearing pink and pink t-shirts will be sold at the marketing table for $10, with proceeds benefitting the U-M Women's Health Program. Pink pompoms will also be distributed to all fans in attendance.
Sunday's match against Ohio State has been designated a "Maize Out." Fans are encouraged to wear Maize to the match. Maize pompoms will be given to the first 500 fans in attendance.
U-M leads the all-time series against Michigan State, 36-23-6. The Wolverines own a two-game winning streak in the series, claiming a 2-0 road decision in last season's meeting.
Michigan is 30-26-2 all-time against Ohio State. The rival programs split the two most-recent meetings, with OSU taking last year's match, 2-1, in Columbus.
With the lone U-M goal against Northwestern (Oct. 5), junior Rachael Mack extended her scoring streak to eight consecutive games, boasting 12 goals over the stretch. Adding a pair of assists, she has registered a point in each of the last 10 games.
Junior Rachael Mack upped her career goal total to 45, moving into sole possession of fifth among Michigan's all-time leaders in the category. She needs just two more to reach the fourth spot, currently held by Julie Flachs (47, 1994-97).
Twelve different Wolverine players have scored this season, including seven who have registered their first collegiate goal, most recently freshman Jaime Dean, who notched a second-half marker against Pacific on Sept. 28.
Senior/junior goalkeeper Haley Jones posted 12 saves in U-M's loss vs. No. 9 Northwestern (Oct. 5), including eight in the second half. Jones, who entered the 2012 season personal single-game standard of eight saves, has surpassed 10 saves in four games this season. Her career best total is 14, which she recorded at No. 6 Penn State on Sept. 23.
Freshman Aisling Naughton scored a goal in each half vs. Pacific to earn the first multi-goal effort of her collegiate career. Junior Rachael Mack owns three multi-goal games this season, while junior/sophomore Leslie Smith and sophomore Axelle Wouters have posted one apiece. Mack and Smith have both recorded a hat trick this season.
Junior/sophomore Leslie Smith successfully converted on a penalty stroke late against Pacific (Sept. 28) to improve to 3-for-3 on stroke opportunities this season. She also scored another, unofficially, in U-M's preseason exhibition contest against Michigan State. She has already surpassed Michigan's penalty-stroke total from last season when Bryn Bain went 2-for-3.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
| Aisling Naughton |
Q: How has the transition been from playing in Ireland to America? Has there been a big difference in the style of play?
A: It's been a pretty big transition, because I think the style of play is quite different. Over here, it's very attacking focused, which I love because I'm an attacking player. I have yet to see any American teams play with a half-court press over here. It's all go-go-go, rather than stepping back and letting things develop. It's very different in that sense. There's a huge emphasis on fitness over here, which is great. It's really important to be super fit, and I think, back home in Ireland, we don't place enough emphasis on it. The training is also different here. The team is like a family. We're with each other so often. Back home, you'd only see your teammates 2-3 times a week, but out here you play with each other six days a week and you're with each other six days a week. It's a lot more intense, but that's good. We're clicking quicker, and we're getting to know our different styles of play. The team is improving at a greater rate."
Q: How has your individual style transferred to the Michigan team?
A: I'm an attacking player myself, and I love to go forward. That's not always the best option; sometimes it's better for me to bring it back around and attack the other side. So, I think my transition for my style of play has fit in quite well, especially on this team because we want to attack.
Q: You seem to like to improvise on the field, are you just always having fun out there?
A: Hockey to me is a hobby. I don't ever want to not enjoy it, because what's the point of doing something you don't enjoy. If I mess about with the ball, improvise and enjoy myself, that's the best part about it.
Q: How has the transition been off the field?
A: It's been absolutely fantastic. I've really enjoyed it all. When I first came out, it was really different and I was a bit apprehensive, because I didn't know what was going to happen. I never came on an official visit. When I arrived at the airport, I remember thinking, "Okay, where am I off to now?" All the girls have been so friendly and lovely, and I've gotten on well with everyone. Everything is different, but it's been such an experience and such a big learning curve. I'm just trying to adapt to what's happening, but it's been really good.
Q: Has it been helpful to have 10 other freshmen who are going through the transition process with you?
A: Absolutely, especially during preseason. We were all in West Quad together. None of us knew what was going on, but it was good to have such a big class; we were experiencing it together. We were enjoying ourselves as a group, and we were able to really share it and express it with each other.
LAST TIME OUT
Michigan suffered its first home loss of the 2012 season last Friday (Oct. 5), falling to No. 9 Northwestern, 4-1, at Phyllis Ocker Field. The Wolverines scored first, with junior Rachael Mack extending her goal streak with a redirection in front at the 5:05 mark, but Northwestern evened the score before halftime and added three unanswered goals in the second half to pull away. With their win, the Wildcats snapped a 20-game losing streak in the series against Michigan. [ Full Recap ]
Friday, Oct. 19 -- at Indiana (Bloomington, Ind.), 4 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 21 -- vs. Miami University (Phyllis Ocker Field), 1 p.m.