Up 2-1 in the third quarter, Northwestern field hockey selected redshirt freshman forward Bente Baekers to take a penalty corner that could swing the momentum back from an Ohio State team vying for a comeback.
Baekers converted for her second of three goals on the day, and the No. 12 Buckeyes (4-3, 0-1 Big Ten) never recovered, dropping 4-1 to the No. 11 Wildcats (7-2, 1-0 Big Ten) at home on Friday.
“We knew the players that were going to make plays for them,” Ohio State head coach Jarred Martin said. “There were moments that I thought we did a good job and our intensity was high, but when we didn’t, they made us pay, which is what good teams do.”
Baekers leads the Big Ten with 33 shots, 10 goals, and 1.25 goals per game. She was this past week’s Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week, and continued her hot streak with four shots and a hat trick against the Buckeyes.
Northwestern doubled Ohio State in shots, with a 12-6 advantage for the game, and a 6-2 edge in penalty corners earned.
Ohio State made the game competitive in the second quarter with a goal from freshman midfielder Mackenzie Allessie. The goal came unassisted as Allessie drove into the box, defended the ball, and pivoted into a slap-shot past the keeper.
The goal cut the Wildcat lead to one score, but the Buckeyes weren’t able to capitalize on the momentum and didn’t muster a shot in the third quarter.
“Compared to last year, we’re so resilient,” Baekers said. “We really want to get better than last year because our season last year wasn’t so great,” Baekers said.
The Wildcats began to run away with the game, and Baekers’ third quarter goal was the second of the goal that was deflected off an Ohio State player into the net.
“A little bit of bad luck,” Martin said. “In the first half, it was the same thing, so we actually scored two goals on ourselves.”
Martin said the team will work on better body and stick positioning on penalty corners in order to decrease the chances of giving up a score on a deflection.
Senior back Whitney Harris played 59 minutes of the 60 for the Buckeyes, the most among any Buckeye outfield player. She said conditioning and inconsistent intensity factored into the loss.
“Our off-ball movement wasn’t as high today, and usually it’s higher,” Harris said. “That’s one of the ways we usually outwork teams, especially when we’re outletting the ball.”
Ohio State will face another ranked Big Ten opponent when it travels to No. 7 Iowa next Friday for a 3 p.m. matchup.