May 8, 2006
EVANSTON, Ill. -- For the first time since November, Northwestern's field hockey team took the field as the Wildcats participated in the T2D Spring League and wrapped up its spring action by going 3-3-1 in the league, leaving the 'Cats just one game short of reaching the league's championship match. The league provided an early look at the 2006 product while for the players and coaches it was a way to benchmark their offseason progress prepare for summer workouts and fall practices in August.
The 'Cats began the spring league in Ann Arbor, Mich., as they played three matches on April 8.
Northwestern fell to Michigan State, 3-0, and Michigan, 6-0, before tying Central Michigan in the weekend's final match.
"The opening weekend of the tournament was a good learning tool for our younger players, they needed to recognize how their roles have changed from the fall," assistant coach Jen Pelleriti said. "The opportunity to play 11s with their more experienced teammates allowed them to really take on the challenge of what's next."
NU rebounded from its rough start by rattling off three-consecutive wins the next weekend at Kent State, outscoring their opponents 13-4. The Wildcats beat Miami (Ohio) 5-1 before taking a 3-2 win over Ohio and a 5-1 victory over Kent State to set up a showdown with Ohio State to see who would play Michigan State in the league's championship match.
On April 16 versus the Buckeyes, NU took an early lead but fell in a tight 3-1 decision to OSU, giving the 'Cats a 3-3-1 mark during the spring.
Ohio State went on to win the league championship for the second-straight year with a 3-2 victory over Michigan State.
"We are really excited about our development over the course of the T2D tournament," Pelleriti said. "The opportunity to play 11s in the spring against such great competition is instrumental in preparing the team for fall competition. We began to find our style of play by the second weekend and the team came together; they really made a statement about what kind of team the '06 squad will be."