Field hockey falls to Big-10 teams on the road

Oct. 9, 2017, 12:25 a.m.

In a tough road weekend against two ranked opponents, No. 12 Stanford field hockey (7-5, 4-0 America East) fell in an overtime heartbreaker to No. 20 Rutgers (8-5, 2-2 Big Ten) before seeing its offense dry up against No. 4 Michigan (11-2, 5-0 Big Ten).

The Cardinal took an early lead in their Saturday match against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. When the game was just four minutes old, Stanford scored on its first shot of the afternoon off a penalty corner. Freshman defender Sarah Johnson started the corner play, which fellow first-year attacker Corinne Zanolli deflected to senior attacker Marissa Cicione for the tip-in goal, her sixth goal of the season. Rutgers was able to come back to tie on a corner opportunity of its own before the half was over, with midfielder Linde van Schaik putting in a shot off the left post.

In the second half, the Cardinal relied heavily on the play of goalkeeper Kelsey Bing, who delivered another strong performance between the pipes with five saves. Neither team was able to break through in the period and the match went into overtime tied up at one.

The Scarlet Knights outshot Stanford 16-12 in the game, with three shots on goal coming during extra time. With the pressure on, the Cardinal surrendered another penalty corner, which proved costly. In the 82nd minute, Rutgers midfielder Daphne Groothuis collected a rebound off a corner shot and fired into the back of the cage to claim the victory by a score of 2-1.

Penalty corners have been the Cardinal’s achilles heel this season — Stanford has given up 90 corners while only being awarded 48. Against Michigan on Sunday, penalty corner opportunities spoiled gritty defense as Stanford was overpowered by the Wolverine offense.

Michigan piled on 14 shots in both the first and second half of the early-afternoon matchup. Bing and the Cardinal defense held off the barrage for 19 minutes before a chip shot rebound by forward Meg Dowthwaite went in for her 15th goal of the season. Although the Cardinal did not record a shot until the final ten minutes of the match, the team defense continued to fight against the Wolverines. However, Michigan was able to convert on a penalty corner deflection before the end of the first half, bringing the score to 2-0.

The second half was much the same, and Michigan took advantage of another corner opportunity — one of 12 on the day — to secure a tip-in insurance goal in the 48th minute. The fourth-ranked Wolverines claimed their eighth straight win with the 3-0 victory.

With five matches against America East Conference opponents left in the season, the Cardinal will need to focus on cutting down penalty corner chances in order to make a run for their second-straight conference title. Still ranked nationally, Stanford has the talent on both sides of the ball to take on top opponents as long as it reduces the free opportunities.

The Cardinal will continue on the road next week as they take on UC Davis on Friday at 4 p.m. and Cal on Sunday at 1 p.m. Sunday’s matchup with the Golden Bears will be streamed live on Pac-12 Networks.


Contact Laura Anderson at lauraand ‘at’


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