Bell’s team splits weekend matches

NIU’s field hockey team resumed its Midwest Collegiate Field Hockey Conference schedule in long-play fashion, splitting a pair of overtime games Saturday and Sunday in Ann Arbor, Mich.

An injury-riddled Huskie squad came from behind to upend host University of Michigan, 3-2, in Sunday’s double-overtime affair. Fourth-ranked University of Iowa played the catch-up role Saturday, slipping by NIU, 3-2, in single overtime.

NIU, 8-5 overall and 4-3 in conference play, spent the majority of its two weekend games filling holes created by a host of injuries. The Huskies were so banged-up by Sunday that only two players were available to coach Laurie Bell for substitution against Michigan.

“At one point Sunday, all three of our backs and a sweeper were out of natural positions,” Bell said. “We played fine under the circumstances, but had too many changes to do as well as we had earlier in the season.”

The Huskies lived and died by the late regulation score. NIU led Iowa 2-1 and looked headed for a major upset when a Hawkeye shot came off a Huskie stick and into the NIU player’s body. The result was an Erica Richards’ penalty stroke score with 25 seconds left in regulation. Richards came through with an unassisted goal with 4:53 remaining in overtime to give Iowa the win. Maaike Schroeder and Laura Wehrman each scored unassisted goals for the Huskies.

NIU turned the story around Sunday. Two Wehrman goals matched Michigan goal-for-goal and tied play, 2-2, at the 1:09 mark for overtime. Neither team scored in the first 10-minute extra period. Jady Psek broke loose late in sudden-death overtime too and scored the winning NIU goal.

A bruised and battered Huskie team makes a return trip to the state of Michigan, facing conference rival Michigan State University Oct. 28 and non-conference Central Michigan University Oct. 29.