Wolverines and Spartans conclude NIU’s affiliation

By Todd McMahon

As DeKalb continues to freeze, the NIU field hockey team will take shelter inside this weekend.

The Huskies travel to East Lansing, Mich., to conclude its 1991 campaign. NIU and the University of Michigan square off Saturday at noon at Spartan Stadium. The season ends Sunday as host Michigan State University provides the opposition.

The two games also mark the end of NIU’s affiliation with the Midwest Collegiate Field Hockey Conference. NIU will go independent next year as the five other members return to the Big Ten.

The Huskies (5-10-1, 1-6-1) are looking to finish the year on a winning note. “Our goal is to finish the year strong,” head coach Laurie Bell said. “It’s the last weekend of play, so the girls are ready to succeed.”

NIU will be looking to finish a respectable fourth with two victories. The Huskies must first knock off current fourth place tenant Michigan (7-9, 2-6).

The Wolverines defeated NIU 3-1 Sept. 29 at Huskie Stadium in a game where the Huskies lacked the effort. Three goals by Katie Thomas paved the way for Michigan, even though NIU had the upper hand in total shots, 16-9.

The Huskies got the win in their first season meeting with Michigan State (5-12-1, 0-7-1) on Oct. 25 at Huskie Stadium. Two goals by junior Kristina Hahn and a 25-4 advantage in shots on goal led to the 4-0 NIU shutout.

“The girls know they can get it (two wins),” Bell said. “They know they had Michigan beat last time. We just have to be mentally prepared this time.

“We’re looking to win two, but going on the road and playing indoors, we’d even take a split. We’re used to playing on football fields, so it will be something different for us.”

Hahn continues to be the catalyst for the Huskies. In 16 games, she has recorded 10 goals, three assists, 23 total points, six defensive saves and 59 total shots on goal. Also contributing on the offensive end is Jen Wilds with a team-high seven assists, and Kristen Felter with four goals and four assists.

Freshman Amy Boomershine remains a bright spot as goalkeeper. In six games, she has 24 saves, allowed only 10 goals, and has notched three shutouts.