The Wolverine

December 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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66 THE WOLVERINE DECEMBER 2017 BY AUSTIN FOX FIELD HOCKEY SWEEPS BIG TEN CROWNS Michigan's field hockey team won its ninth regular-season league title (fifth outright) Oct. 20 with a 1-0 shutout of then-No. 8 Northwestern. The Wolverines (21-2) finished the season with a perfect 8-0 conference mark, while every other league opponent had at least two Big Ten losses. "It was super special," head coach Marcia Pankratz said. "We knew this was going to be a great year because we had such amazing leadership from our senior class. The Big Ten this season was incredibly tough — four of the teams were in the top 10, and it was extremely competitive throughout. "That alone makes it even more special for us to be the champions of such a great conference." Pankratz revealed that she knew this team had a chance to do great things before the season even began. "I felt it during the preseason," she admitted. "We had it written on our preseason manual that Team 45 is special. I could tell by the shape the players came in from the summertime, from the leadership of our veterans and by the team dynamics." The team was led all year by two key veterans — senior midfielder/backer Katie Trombetta, the Big Ten Player of the Year, and senior goalkeeper Sam Swenson, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. "Winning those awards is a reflection of the team's success," the coach explained. "That's what all of those individual awards are about. They're obviously special players, but it's a team event and our success is a reflection of that. "Sam provided us with outstanding goalkeeping all season. Katie, along with our defense as a whole, was so solid. We went so many games with shutouts and holding teams to no shots, which is incredible. "On the flip side, we also had some real firepower with [sophomore midfielder/forward] Meg Dowthwaite, [junior forward] Emma [Way] and [fifth- year senior forward] Carly [Bennett] up front — we were able to score a lot of goals with them. If you can win at both ends, you're going to have good results, and we were able to do that." Although there were several aspects that Pankratz was proud of this season regarding her team, she admitted that one quality really stood out. "The overall togetherness of the entire 25 players," she said. "You have to remember some of these players' roles weren't necessarily on the field, and yet   OLYMPIC SPORTS The field hockey team won the Big Ten regular-season and tournament championships before reaching the NCAA semifinals, which were set to be played Nov. 17 in Louisville, Ky. PHOTO BY ROGER HART/MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY We Are The Champions Several U-M Fall Teams Captured Big Ten Titles

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