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News for 16 October 2019

All the news for Wednesday 16 October 2019

Ireland find Belgians too hot to handle in Wavre

Alexander Hendrickx scored twice. Pic: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

Ireland lost 6-0 to the reigning World Cup and European champions Belgium at the Lara club in Wavre in the Green Machine’s final warm-up game for the Olympic qualifiers.

They fly out directly from Belgium to Canada in the coming days for next week’s double-header in west Vancouver to decide their road to Tokyo.

Speaking after the match, Head Coach Mark Tumilty said: “It was a difficult game against a top side, they aren’t European and World champions for no reason.

Our guys can take something from the game, we played some good hockey at times. We’re now looking forward to going to Canada to achieve our objective.”

Alex Hendrickx converted a corner in the fifth minute and Cedric Charlier made it two with a nice shot across the bows of David Harte. Hendrickx added another from a corner for 3-0 at half-time.

Charlier got his second in the 39th minute before Arthur van Doren and Thomas Briels completed the win in the closing quarter.

Men’s international test match

Belgium 6 (A Hendrickx 2, C Charlier 2, A van Doren, T Briels)
Ireland 0

Belgium: L van Doren, A van Doren, F van Aubel, S Dockier, C Charlier, M Stockbroekx, A Hendrickx, F Denayer, S Gougnard, L Luypaert, V Wegnez
Subs: J-J Dohmen, G Boccard, A Meurmans, T Briels, M Plennevaux, A de Sloover

Ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, T Cross, C Cargo, P Caruth, S O’Donoghue, J McKee, B Walker, D Walsh, C Harte, L Cole
Subs: O Magee, J Duncan, S Cole, S Loughrey, J Bell, S Murray

The Hook

Black Sticks seal series win with outstanding performance

The Vantage Black Sticks Men have finished off their preparation for the Olympic Qualification series with a gutsy 2-0 win over Japan in the fourth match of the TSB Community Trust Series. Behind an outstanding performance from TET man of the match Nic Woods who was a rock in the middle for the New Zealand team.
Black Sticks coach Darren Smith Commented “It was good to finish the four-game series on a high note, and a fantastic flick from Kane set us up well tonight. 2-0 was a good result against a strong Japanese side. We will head home and have some downtime for a few days before the whole group will assemble in Auckland we will then turn our attention to Korea and the important Olympic Qualification series”.
The New Zealand side came into the fourth and final match of the TSB Community Trust series with a 2-1 series lead.
The kiwis were looking aggressive at the start of the match and were pressing the Japan side and forcing them into turnovers deep in their half. Despite going close on some great interchange play between the strike line the Black Sticks couldn’t put the ball in the net in the first quarter.
Japan started the second quarter confidently and forced Richard Joyce to pull off some composed saves. The kiwis worked their way into the quarter and earned themselves a penalty corner off some great passing in the circle. Kane Russell got a clean drag flick off that rocketed into the top of the goal beating the Japanese defence for pace and placement. New Zealand constructed several more opportunities in the quarter but were unable to break the Japan defensive line and the score remained 1-0 at the half time break.
Japan came out in the third quarter looking fast and hungry and were pushing the New Zealand side early at the start of the second half. The kiwi defence was stoic and didn’t allow Japan a chance to get any clear shots off. After absorbing the early pressure New Zealand went close as the ball went just wide of the post on a few occasions, however, the New Zealand side couldn’t increase their lead in the third quarter.
The Vantage Black Sticks doubled their lead at the start of the fourth quarter when a great Kane Russell overhead found an open New Zealand player in the circle who laid the ball back to Simon Child for a great shot and his 141st goal for the New Zealand side. The kiwis then continued to press the Japanese side searching for their third goal. Japan was resolute and the match ended with a 2-0 win to the Vantage Black Sticks.
The New Zealand Men will return to the turf on the 2nd of November when they take on Korea in the important 2 match series which will see the winners punch their ticket to Tokyo.
Vantage Black Sticks Men 2 (Kane Russell 16 min, Simon Child 50 min)
Japan 0

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Black Sticks men beat Japan 2-0 to clinch four-match series

New Zealand have won their series against Japan 3-1. GLENN JEFFREY/STUFF

The Black Sticks men have won their four-match series against Japan after victory in their final match on Tuesday.

New Zealand won 2-0 in Stratford to win the series 3-1.

Kane Russell, who scored four goals in game two on Saturday night, got the first goal on Tuesday 30 seconds into the second quarter when his drag-flick found the top-left corner.

Simon Child scored New Zealand's second goal on Tuesday night. GLENN JEFFREY/STUFF

Simon Child got the second early in the fourth quarter after a searching long ball found Jacob Smith in the circle. He controlled it well before playing a great back pass to Child to finish low into the corner.

It was Child's first goal back since returning to the Black Sticks setup after a three-year absence.


New Zealand 2 (Kane Russell, Simon Child) Japan 0. HT: 1-0


2019 Sultan of Johor Cup - Day 4
Johor Bahru (MAS)


15 Oct 2019     GBR v AUS (RR)     1 - 0
15 Oct 2019     JPN v IND (RR)     4 - 3
15 Oct 2019    NZL v MAS (RR)     6 - 0


16 Oct 2019 16:10     IND v AUS (RR) (Click here to watch the LIVE stream)
16 Oct 2019 18:10     MAS v GBR (RR) (Click here to watch the LIVE stream)
16 Oct 2019 20:40     NZL v JPN (RR) (Click here to watch the LIVE stream)

Pool Standings

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Great Britain 3 3 0 0 5 1 4 9
2 India 3 2 0 1 15 8 7 6
3 Australia 3 1 1 1 3 3 0 4
4 Japan 3 1 0 2 6 7 -1 3
5 New Zealand 3 1 0 2 8 10 -2 3
6 Malaysia 3 0 1 2 3 11 -8 1

FIH Match Centre

Golden’s strike seals Sultan of Johor Cup victory over Australia

Great Britain maintained their 100% win record at the 2019 Sultan of Johor Cup with a hard fought 1-0 victory over Australia thanks to Jamie Golden’s early strike.

GB took the lead with just over five minutes on the clock with a beautifully constructed goal. Nicholas Park unselfishly played the ball across the face of goal to the unmarked Golden who stroked the ball in on the reverse stick with an accomplished finish.

Australia, who tied 1-1 with Malaysia in their previous match, looked to reply with one of their own but were denied by a smart save from the boot of James Mazarelo in the second-quarter.

Both sides earned their first penalty corner of the match in the third quarter, Australia unable to make the most of their attempt before Ioan Wall’s drive flashed just wide shortly after.

With time running out in the third quarter, Patrick Oates was able to unleash a shot on goal but this time the Australians found Oliver Payne in goal ready to prevent the ball from finding the back of the net.

Australia had successive penalty corners as the quarter came to a close and were very close to being rewarded for their attacking impetuous, but for good defensive work to prevent a telling shot on target.

Mazarelo displayed some more good work in goal, making another solid save with his right foot to preserve the clean sheet.

Though Australia were pressing on looking for an equaliser, Great Britain were looking dangerous on the counter attack, Daniel West unable to convert a chance from the top of the circle with ten minutes remaining.

Superb defensive work from Great Britain to deny Australia from three penalty corners inside the final minute of time was enough to earn them the victory and seal three victories from three matches.

Great Britain will take on hosts Malaysia in their next match on Wednesday 16 October at 11:10am BST, which you can live stream HERE.

Great Britain 1 (1)
Golden (6’, FG)

Australia (0)

Starting XI: Payne (GK), Nurse, Oates, Griffiths, Ramshaw, West, Park, Wall, MacKenzie, Buckle, Rushmere
Subs: Mazarelo (GK), Stanley, Russell, Golden, Bhuhi, Williamson, McConnell

Great Britain Hockey media release

Japan's hockey team bring India down to earth

Japan’s Wataru Matsumoto (right) celebrates with teammates after scoring against India during the Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru. -NSTP/Hairul Anuar Rahim

Japan upset India 4-3 in the Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday.

It was Japan’s first win following defeats to Australia (2-1) and Britain (2-1) in their opening matches.

Wataru Matsumoto gave them the lead in the first minute off a penalty corner, while the other goals were scored by Kosei Kawabe (22nd, 37th) and Keita Watanabe (33rd).

Gursahibjit Singh (31st), Sharda Nand Tiwari (38th) and Pratap Lakra (53rd) netted for India.

India were going great guns with 4-2 and 8-2 wins over Malaysia and New Zealand before the Japanese clipped them.

In another match, defending champions Britain recorded their third straight win when they edged Australia 1-0.

Jamie Golden scored for Britain in the sixth minute.

With maximum points from their three opening matches, Britain only need to beat either Malaysia today or India on Friday to cement their spot in the final.

Britain coach Jon Bleby said: “We are not looking at the standings yet. We also do not want to calculate our chances of making the final with two matches to go.

“I am just looking at how to improve the team's performance.

“We will be playing the hosts tomorrow (today). They have good players who have great skills as well as speed on their side.

“I believe this match will provide a different kind of challenge and learning curve for my team.”

Australia coach Ben Bishop said even though they only have four points after three matches, the door to the final is still open.

In earlier matches, Australia defeated Japan 2-1 and drew 1-1 with Malaysia.

“With two matches to go, anything can happen, especially if the leaders drop points,” said Bishop.

RESULTS: Britain 1 Australia 0, Japan 4 India 3, New Zealand 6 Malaysia 0.

FIXTURES — TODAY — India v Australia (4pm), Malaysia v Britain (6pm), Japan v New Zealand (8.30pm).

* matches at Taman Daya Stadium.

New Straits Times

Indian junior hockey team loses 3-4 to Japan

Indian junior men's hockey team suffered its first loss in the Sultan of Johor Cup as it lost 3-4 in a fiercely-contested match against Japan on Tuesday

Indian hockey junior team captain Mandeep Mor in action at the Sultan of Johor Cup.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Indian junior men's hockey team suffered its first loss in the Sultan of Johor Cup as it went down 3-4 to Japan on Tuesday. Kosei Kawabe (22', 37') scored a brace for Japan while Wataru Matsumoto (1') and Keita Watanabe (33') added two more either side of the half-time to register its first win of the tournament.

India fought back through goals from Gursahibjit Singh(31'), Shardanand Tiwari (38') and Pratap Lakra (53') but was unable to break the Japanese resistance.

Japan won a penalty corner in the first minute of the game and Wataru Matsumoto converted to give his team the lead. Japan goalkeeper Takumi Kitagawa saved Pratap Lakra's dragflick in the third minute to prevent an equaliser.

In a scrappy second period, India created multiple opportunities for the equaliser, but was unable to breach the Japanese defence. Japan was sharp on the counter attack, and scored a second in the 22nd minute -- Kosei Kawabe converting a PC to double the lead.

India struck in the first minute of the third quarter, after Gursahibjit Singh combined with Mandeep Mor to score from a penalty corner variation. Japan hit back in the 33rd minute when Keita Watanabe converted Japan's fifth PC of the game to make it 3-1.

Kosei Kawabe scored Japan's fourth in the 37th minute to extend its lead to a three-goal cushion. In the next minute, Sharda Nand Tiwari slotted an inch perfect drag flick into the top right to make the score 4-2.

India went all out attack in the final quarter but was the Japanese defence successfully thwarted the attempts. In the 53rd minute, India won another PC and Pratap Lakra struck to his team close to the equalising, but Japan saw out the remaining time to win the match.

India will face Australia in its next round robin match on Wednesday.

All the matches played at the 9th Sultan of Johor Cup will be exclusively streamed on notthefootyshow YouTube channel.


India suffers its first loss

India lost to Japan 3-4 in a high octane game for its first loss in the Sultan of Johor Cup hockey here on Tuesday.

Japan took an early through Wataru Matsumoto, who converted a penalty corner, and doubled it in the 22nd minute when Kosei Kawabe converted another.

In the third quarter, India reduced the margin through Gursahibjit.

Japan struck back within two minutes when Keita Watanabe converted its fifth penalty corner and Kawabe got his second and Japan’s fourth in the 37th minute.

India pulled one back through Sharda Nand Tiwari within a minute.

Pratap Lakra narrowed the margin to 3-4 in the 53rd minute.

India will next play Australia on Wednesday.

The result:

Japan 4 (Kosei Kawabe 2, Wataru Matsumoto, Keita Watanabe) bt India 3 (Gursahibjit, Sharda Nand Tiwari, Pratap Lakra).

The Hindu

New Zealand bounce back emphatically at Sultan of Johor Cup

New Zealand have bounced back emphatically at the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia with a comprehensive 6-0 win over the host nation. New Zealand looked clinical from the outset and were buoyed by a hattrick to defender Benji Edwards who produced some outstanding drag flicks.

The New Zealand U21 side were looking to put a horror second match behind them as they lined up to take on the home side Malaysia in their third match of the Sultan of Johor Cup for 2019.

New Zealand started the game looking more composed than previously in the tournament, they were forcing Malaysia into turnovers in their defensive zone and were then attacking with speed. Despite several circle entries the kiwis were struggling to get off a clear shot against a strong Malaysian defence. Late in the first quarter, Xavier Guy eliminated several Malaysian defenders, however, his reverse stick shot went over the crossbar. After one quarter the two sides remained tied.

For the first time in the 2019 tournament the New Zealand U21 side put themselves in front in the match, Charl Ulrich made a great tackle in the middle of the field and put a spectacular long ball through into the attacking circle, Moss Jackson then calmly finished the play by flicking the ball into the goal from a tight angle. The lead was then doubled midway through the second quarter when Xavier Guy and Zander Fraser combined nicely to work their way down the right-hand channel. Fraser then put a great cross ball into the circle that Maks Wyndham-Smith deflected into the goal. Just before the halftime break the New Zealand team further extended their lead with a high wide drag-flick that the Malaysian goalkeeper couldn’t keep out of the goal.

Benji Edwards scored his second goal of the match when his drag-flick early in the third quarter put New Zealand into a commanding position in the match. Malaysia then regrouped and started to look to construct some attacking plays, New Zealand was continuing to snuff out the attacks and were then counter-attacking with speed against the Malaysian defence. Just before the end of the third quarter Sean Findlay received a great ball on the baseline, he then used some slick 3D skills to eliminate several Malaysian defenders and pop the shot over the goalkeeper for Dylan Thomas to put a deft touch into the goal.

New Zealand started the final quarter in a dominant position as they entered the quarter up 5-0 against what looked like a shell-shocked Malaysian side. Benji Edwards completed his hattrick early in the fourth quarter when he went low on a drag-flick that was too fast for the Malaysian side to control.

New Zealand 6 (Moss Jackson 19 min, Maks Wyndham-Smith 23 min, Benji Edwards 26, 33, 47 min, Dylan Thomas 45 min)
Malaysia 0

Hockey New Zealand Media release

No room left for error, says hockey coach

By Jugjet Singh

Syarman Mat Tee (right) tries to dribble past Australia’s Sam McCulloch in their Sultan of Johor Cup match at Taman Daya Stadium on Sunday. PIC BY HAIRUL ANUAR RAHIM

MALAYSIA have no choice but to beat New Zealand today in the Sultan of Johor Cup if they hope to salvage some pride as hosts.

Playing at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru, Malaysia came close to securing victories when they led against India and Australia in their opening two matches.

However, India fought back to win 4-2 while Australia also hit back for a 1-1 draw.

Nor Saiful Zaini’s boys can’t afford any slip-ups against the Kiwis, who were hammered 8-2 by India on Sunday.

“I see some progress in the team. However, they tend to concede whenever they are leading.

“We were leading 2-0 against India and 1-0 against Australia but lost one and shared points in the other. We need to be more consistent in all four quarters to claim full points in tomorrow’s (today) match,” said Nor Saiful yesterday.

It is a problem inherited from the national senior team, who lost the Asian Games final to Japan on shootout, despite taking a 5-2 lead.

“We need to learn how to hold on and build a lead. They end up conceding whenever their opponents press hard for goals,” he added.

Malaysia must beat New Zealand and then aim for good results against Britain and Japan in their remaining matches if they hope to earn a medal of any colour in the tournament.

Malaysia finished fifth out of six teams last year.

FIXTURES — Today: Britain v Australia (4pm), Japan v India (6pm), New Zealand v Malaysia (8.30pm). *Matches at Taman Daya Stadium.

New Straits Times

Spain’s seven year journey to Tokyo

Continuing our series of video interviews with the teams that will participate in the upcoming FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers, Spain (FIH World Ranking: 7) captain Georgina Oliva looks ahead to her team’s all-important two-match clash with Korea (WR:11), with a place at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on the line. The crucial matches will take place at the Estadio Betero, Valencia, Spain on 25/26 October 2019, both matches starting at 20:00 local time. A transcription of the interview can be found below.

The FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will be taking place very soon. How is your team feeling ahead of these hugely important matches?

Georgina Oliva: “The feeling in the camp is really happy. We are really looking forward to starting the process for qualification for Tokyo. We have been training for this project for seven years so now is a good time to be in Tokyo.”

How have you and the squad been preparing for the FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers in the past few weeks

Georgina Oliva: “After the European Championships we have been in Valencia in order to train for the qualifications. Now we know we are playing against Korea and we are going to be here 90 per cent of the time playing friendly matches against Argentina, Canada and China.

What do you expect of your opponents, Korea and how will you counter their strengths?

Georgina Oliva: We expect Korea to give us a really physical game. They run a lot and they close the spaces really fast and when they get the ball they can counter attack. It’s really aggressive but the Spanish team will first of all work to prevent the counter attack. After that, we have been working to improve our possession, so we recognise the spaces and we move the ball really well. I think we will have a loy of circle penetrations.

Finally, what would qualifying for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 mean to you and your team?

Georgina Oliva: For us [qualifying for] Tokyo will be the result of all the work we have done since Rio 2016. After that last Olympic Games we set the goal of being in Tokyo, so we have been fighting, we have been training and we have dome everything to be there. Also, it is the dream of every sports player to be there. It is the highest competition so to be there would be really exciting.

Each qualifier consists of two back-to-back matches which will be played in the same venue. The winners of these FIH Hockey Olympic qualifiers will qualify for the 2020 Olympic hockey tournaments which will be staged in Japan’s capital city from 25 July to 7 August next year and involve 12 Men’s and 12 Women’s teams.


FIH site

Shahril’s back in the frontline after being sidelined


PETALING JAYA: Mohd Shahril Saabah (pic) is back to his old self again and ready to make his presence felt against Britain in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic playoff matches next month.

The national hockey team striker is back in the team after he was sidelined due to a hamstring injury earlier this year.

Shahril said he is getting closer to rediscovering his old form after featuring for Malaysia in the tour of Europe (July), Japan (August) and South Korea (September).

“I was unavailable for six months due to my injury but since coming back for the playing tours, my form is much better. I’ll be raring to go when the playoff starts, ” said the Kuala Lumpur lad.

“In South Korea, I played in all four matches and I realised that I need to work on my positioning in the D box. Apart from that, as strikers, we must be more clinical and sharper with our finishing.”

Malaysia, who are ranked 11th in the world, will try to defy the odds against world No. 7 Britain at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London on Nov 2 and 3.

Shahril, who played against some of the players who featured for England during the team’s European tour, said his teammates are aware of the threat Britain pose.

“We know what they are capable of doing, so we are prepared and ready to take them on, ” said the 25-year-old.

“Training is going well. The focus right now is on mental and physical aspects ahead of the clash.

“We’re also working on our penalty corners and counter-attacks. These two are our strengths and we must use them well against them.

“We must have belief that we can do it and every member of the squad must be on the page.”

Coach Roelant Oltman’s boys are currently in Genting Highlands and the Dutchman is expected to drop one player from the 21-player squad before they head to Holland on Oct 20.

They will play two warm-up matches there before leaving for London.

The Star of Malaysia

Claire Jones Scores 2 Goals in Field Hockey’s Win Over Yale

By Faith Fisher

The team improved its Ivy record — but couldn't keep up against out-of-conference competition. Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Editor

Cornell field hockey earned another Ivy League win this weekend by defeating Yale, but the winning momentum failed to translate into a victory against non-league opponent California-Berkeley.

The Red (6-3, 2-1 Ivy League) entered the game against Yale with energy and intensity both offensively and defensively, a common trend this season. Defeated by the Bulldogs in a 1-0 overtime loss last year on Dodson Field, the team triumphed, 2-1, thanks to two goals from sophomore forward Claire Jones.

“We are on the right path and we are doing what we need to do,” head coach Andy Smith said. “We felt like we were in control all day … We fought well and were clearly the better team of the day, at least by the results.”

Despite five shots and two penalty corners, the Red couldn’t find the back of the net. However, the score remained tied at 0-0 as the Red stymied all offensive advances by the Bulldogs (2-9, 0-3 Ivy League). Yale failed to break through the Red’s strong defensive bulwark into the circle for the entirety of the quarter.

The Red’s offensive prowess materialized into a goal in the first minute of the second quarter. Junior midfielder Taylor Gladd, with the ball on her stick, traveled along the right sideline and with a strategic turn toward the circle, passed the ball to Jones. Capitalizing on the opportunity, Jones tipped the pass into the net, giving her team a 1-0 lead.

The Bulldogs would not surrender. With just one minute left in the first half, the Bulldogs tallied their first — and only — goal of the day.

A halftime break reenergized the Red, and it retook the field with a desire to reclaim its lead. Yale negated almost all of the Red’s attempts, until the very last seconds of the third quarter. Jones capitalized on a penalty corner called with seven seconds left in the third quarter. Her second goal of the game widened the scoring gap once again and proved to be the game-winner.

“[Jones] was brilliant,” Smith said. “She played really well, scored two great goals and is doing very well, especially as only a sophomore.”

The fourth quarter proved offensively futile. Senior goalkeeper Maddie Henry saved three shots in the quarter to secure the win for the Red.

The second game of the weekend’s double header in New Haven produced a less than favorable result for the Red. The Cal Bears broke the Red’s three-game winning streak in a 3-1 contest.

The Red struggled to get off to its signature quick start. The Bears instead took offensive control — their nine shots on goal trumped the Red’s measly one. The lopsided shots on goal primarily were a product of penalty corners — the Red allowed six penalty corners to the Bears in the first quarter alone. Despite the Bears’ offensive edge gained from the penalty corners, Henry saved every shot and the score remained tied at 0-0.

The second quarter brought about back-and-forth scoring from the teams. Cal opened up scoring five minutes into the quarter. The Red responded just five minutes later. Junior midfielder Julianne Mangano found a loose ball after the Cal goalie blocked two shots. Mangano skillfully tipped the ball into the goal to tie the game back up. But with less than two minutes left in the second half, the Bears regained their one-goal advantage.

“We didn’t feel like we were out of the game at all,” Smith said. “In terms of circle penetrations, we generate more than they do in the first half — we just gave them penalty corners. We are very good defensively and Maddie Henry had a world class performance, but we have to stop putting ourselves in positions like that.”

The offensive intensity of the first half did not translate into the second half for either team. Rather, the second half saw only two total shots on goal, both of which came from the Bears.

“We got our tactics wrong, and that’s on me as the head coach,” Smith said. “We also gave up way too many penalty corners. We just kept giving them penalty corner after penalty corner, and then we changed our system right at the end.”

A fruitless third quarter transitioned into another quarter played in the midfield. The Bears, already up 2-1, managed to hit the back of the net for their third goal of the game with just four minutes remaining. The Red was left scrambling to overcome the two-goal deficit, but to no avail.

The Bears maintained the advantage in all aspects of the game. Cornell’s five shots on goal paled in comparison to the Bears’ 18. The Bears also had the edge with 11 penalty corners versus Cornell’s six.

“We don’t feel like we got beat — we beat ourselves,” Smith said. “We played very soft hockey, and I was disappointed with that. But we move on.”

Cornell Daily Sun

A split weekend creates a sense of urgency

After another tough loss to an unranked foe, Northwestern kept its postseason hopes relatively high with a crucial win.

By Lia Assimakopoulos

Christen Conley plays a pass down the line. Northwestern Field Hockey

After extending its losing streak to three games with a loss to Penn State, No. 10 Northwestern field hockey (11-5, 3-1 B1G) was able to bounce back on Sunday with a decisive win against No. 19 Rutgers.

Northwestern’s past two weeks have been plagued with inconsistencies, including road losses to back-to-back unranked opponents in the Nittany Lions and Maine, which the team looks to resolve heading into the final month of regular season play.

The ‘Cats started their weekend with a devastating 3-2 double overtime loss to an unranked Penn State team. For the fourth straight game, Northwestern’s match was decided in overtime, the first time in program history the ‘Cats took part in four straight overtime games. After the loss, their season record in games that have gone to an extra session dropped to 2-4

The first half was scoreless and relatively uneventful. NU surrendered a goal early in the second but responded with two scores, one from Christen Conley (her first of the season) and one from Saar de Breij, giving the Wildcats a 2-1 lead in the fourth. However, following a NU yellow card, Penn State had the man advantage and tied it up midway through the fourth, sending the game to extra time.

After a scoreless first overtime, the Wildcats could not find the back of the net, and Penn State stole the win with the all-important golden goal three minutes into the second extra period.

However, Northwestern bounced back on Sunday, earning its seventh ranked win of the season with a 4-1 victory at Rutgers. The Wildcats took the early lead off a Bente Baekers penalty corner, assisted by Kirsten Mansfield, who leads the Big Ten with 12 assists on the season. Rutgers evened things up off another corner, but de Breij responded with her seventh of the season to regain the lead.

After a scoreless third quarter, Maren Seidel extended the lead to two on a rebound off another penalty corner. Baekers added her second of the day in the final two minutes off a penalty stroke — her NCAA-leading 19th goal of the season. The redshirt first year earned her fifth Big Ten Freshman of the Year this season for her efforts this weekend.

The win helped keep Tracey Fuchs and her squad solidly in the mix for one of the last at-large spots in the NCAA Tournament. Division 1 field hockey, which currently has 78 teams overall, allows 18 teams into the Tournament, including just eight at-large bids.

The Wildcats, who are currently 10th in the polls and 15th in RPI, are behind four teams who will likely earn conference auto-bids: one representative each from the powers of the ACC and the Big Ten, UConn from the Big East, and Princeton from the Ivy League. But a bid-stealer or continued struggles could easily push NU to the wrong side of the bubble. We will keep you updated on the team’s prognosis across the final three weeks of the season.

Northwestern will host Kent State on Sunday before resuming Big Ten play the following weekend, when they travel to take on No. 6 Iowa.

Inside NU

Baekers takes home fifth Big Ten Freshman of the Week Award

Andrew Golden

Bente Baekers hits the ball. The freshman forward leads the team with 19 goals. Daily file photo by Alison Albelda

For the fourth time in the past five weeks, freshman forward Bente Baekers received Big Ten Freshman of the Week Honors. The award comes after the Netherlands native helped NU snap its three-game losing streak.

During the slump, Baekers scored just one goal in three games, but she came in the clutch when the Cats needed it most. In Sunday’s game against No. 19 Rutgers, Baekers scored first to give NU an early lead, something the Cats hadn’t done during their three-game losing streak.

Later in the game, with just under two minutes remaining and NU up by two, Baekers added an insurance goal to push the game further out of reach.

The freshman standout has been stellar for the Cats all season, as the leading offense threat for the team. Baekers has taken 25 more shots than the second shot taker on the team and has 21 more points than NU’s second-leading point scorer. For the season, Baekers leads the Big Ten with 19 goals and ranks third in the country in goals.

With three games remaining before the Big Ten Tournament, Baekers has a chance to finish the season in the top 10 for points scored in a season by a Cats’ player. She is currently at 39 points, only five points behind Isabel Flens, who currently sits in 10th place with 44 points in 2016.

The Daily Northwestern

Minister Ross Opens Sport Ireland Hockey Training Centre

The new state of the art hockey pitch at the Sport Ireland Campus was officially opened by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, providing a welcome boost to Ireland’s national hockey teams ahead of their pivotal Tokyo 2020 qualification matches against Canada.

The surface is a Polytan Polygras Toyko GT surface the same surface that will be used at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and the 2022 World Cup.

Speaking at the opening today which was attended by senior international players, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, said: “I am delighted to officially open this magnificent facility, a new high performance training pitch for Irish hockey into the future. I am sure that this new world- class hockey pitch at the Campus will be of great benefit for our teams in terms of preparing for Tokyo 2020 and beyond. And I want to take this opportunity to wish all of our athletes and teams well in their bids to qualify for Tokyo and in their preparations for the Olympics and Paralympics next year.”

Construction of the pitch was completed in recent weeks and has been utilised by both squads, providing a timely boost ahead of their crucial Olympic Qualifiers.

Chairman of Sport Ireland, Kieran Mulvey, commented: “Following a remarkable period of success by our national teams, Sport Ireland is delighted to be in a position to provide world class facilities for our hockey players here on the Sport Ireland Campus. This development makes a clear statement that the Sport Ireland Campus is the home of high performance hockey in Ireland. The completion of the hockey pitch is another important milestone for the Sport Ireland, which recently added the Phase 2 of the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena and Irish Rugby’s training centre to the long list of world class facilities on the Sport Ireland Campus. I would like to wish both the Women’s and Men’s senior international teams the very best in their respective qualification matches against Canada.”

Both Irish senior squads have been utilising the pitch in their preparations for their upcoming Olympic qualifiers and continue to avail of the range of training supports and professional services offered by the Sport Ireland Institute.

Sport Ireland Chief Executive, John Treacy, added: “The location of the pitch here at the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus allows all national players to avail of existing science, medicine and lifestyle support services through the Sport Ireland Institute. This pitch will not only be a huge boost to them, but also to our up and coming players who will no doubt have been inspired by the recent performances of our women’s and men’s teams.”

Chair of Sport Ireland’s National Sports Campus Committee, Patrick O’Connor, said: “The opening of the Sport Ireland Hockey Training Centre is the latest world-class facility to open on the Sport Ireland Campus. The development of this new pitch alleviates the need for Irish teams to travel abroad to train, giving them access to the latest in pitch technology here in Ireland. The construction of the pitch, coupled with the other extensive facilities on the site, opens up opportunities to attract other major international teams here to the Sport Ireland Campus.”

The Ireland Men’s squad have recently travelled to Belgium for their final preparation matches ahead of their Vancouver qualifier which will take place on the 26th and 27th of October. The Women’s squad are currently in camp in their final phases of their preparations. They travel to Germany next week for a two-match series before returning home to face Canada in their Olympic qualifier on the 2nd and 3rd of November.

Speaking at the opening of the pitch, Eric Brady, Chairman of Hockey Ireland, said: “Hockey Ireland is delighted the pitch on the Sport Ireland Campus is now open. This new FIH standard pitch will be a huge asset to our international teams in their training for world class tournaments and events, especially considering its close proximity to the other Sport Ireland facilities such as the Sport Ireland Institute. This great addition to the Sport Ireland Campus will also provide a world standard state of the art hockey surface for all Hockey Ireland’s development and underage teams to practice and compete on, as they strive to emulate the achievements of the current Women’s and Men’s teams.”

The Green Army – Ireland Senior Women - will play the only Olympic qualifier, in any sport, on Irish soil this year on the 2nd and 3rd of November. Tickets for the qualifiers can be purchased here: https://www.hockeyqualifierticketsdublin.com/

Irish Hockey Association media release

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