Michigan field hockey scores twice in final 61 seconds to advance to NCAA tournament

The Michigan field hockey team’s path to the NCAA Tournament Finals in Ann Arbor later this month nearly ended before starting Friday afternoon, as the seeded Wolverines No. 3, needed a last-second goal to beat Miami (Ohio), 3-2.

Michigan advance to the second round, where they will host Harvard – which beat Louisville, 1-0, Friday – at 1 p.m. Sunday at Phyllis Ocker Field in Ann Arbor. The winner of this match will advance to the national semi-finals on November 19, also scheduled for Ann Arbor. (Just like the national final on November 21.)

Sofia Southam of Michigan runs in an NCAA Big Ten Conference field hockey game against Iowa on Friday, October 15, 2021, at Grant Field in Iowa City, Iowa.

TOURNAMENT : Michigan is number 3 in the NCAA, chasing first title since 2001

LAST SEASON: Michigan lose national title game in overtime, 4-3, to North Carolina

The Wolverines were just 2:31 behind, when Lexie Nugent of the RedHawks scored her eighth goal of the season, then lost 2-0 on Taylor Curran’s goal with 2:03 left in the first quarter. Suddenly, the 2020 national finalists seemed to fail in the first round.

But star midfielder Sofia Southam got UM with less than a goal just 1:40 of the second quarter, thanks to an assist from Lora Clarke from a penalty corner. The score was Southam’s 22nd of the season, good for number 2 in the country. But Michigan stayed behind until the end of the fourth quarter.

With six minutes to go, the Wolverines pulled goalie Anna Spieker out for an additional striker, but to no avail. Southam tied it with 3:30 to go, recovering the ball from a Clarke penalty corner – but his shot hit the crossbar. Finally, with 1:01 to go, Katie Anderson managed a shot past Miami goalie Isabelle Perese (on an assist from All-Big Ten tournament player Halle O’Neill) to tie at 2 and keep the season going. Michigan alive.

Less than a minute later, Clarke and Southam returned. Clarke’s penalty corner with eight seconds left allowed Southam to score the 23rd goal of the season, with just two seconds remaining. The Wolverines, whose previous NCAA tournament game – the May national final – ended in an overtime loss (4-3) to North Carolina, were again spared in overtime.

Michigan was one of six Big Ten teams to make the 18-team squad, with the conference claiming the four national seeds. Friday went well for five of them, with No.1 Rutgers and No.2 Iowa also advancing through fourth quarter goals against Delaware and American, respectively. But the Penn State No.4 was upset by Syracuse with three goals in the 4-1 start of the Finals. Maryland upset Virginia, 2-1, to advance to a second-round game with the Orange, and Northwestern knocked out defending champion North Carolina, 2-0. The Wildcats’ victory ensures that at least one Big Ten team travel to Ann Arbor next weekend, with Northwestern facing Iowa on Sunday for a berth in the national semifinals. The Scarlet Knights, meanwhile, face Liberty on Sunday.

Contact Ryan Ford at rford@freepress.com. Follow him on twitter @theford.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: NCAA Field Hockey Tournament: Michigan Scores 2 in 1:01 Final to Win

Catherine J. Martinez