Field Hockey: (10-2, 4-0 B1G)
Last weekend, Northwestern knocked off two of the six best teams in the nation. This weekend was a little bit easier. On the road against Rutgers and Drexel, No. 6 Northwestern pulled out two more wins. Northwestern got rolling right away against Rutgers (6-4, 1-2 B1G) on Friday. Dom Masters scored her eighth goal of the season just four minutes in, and Isabel Flens scored twice in the span of five minutes to give the Wildcats a 3-0 halftime lead. Then Masters scored again just seven minutes into the second half to increase the lead to four. Rutgers responded quickly with a goal, but reigning Big Ten Player of the Week Pascale Massey struck to make it 5-1 with 20 minutes remaining. Rutgers added two late goals to make it respectable, but would not get closer than that in a 5-3 Northwestern win.
The Wildcats raced out to a huge first half lead again on Sunday against Drexel (6-6, 1-0 CAA) as Flens scored a hat trick inside the game’s first nine minutes. Saar de Breij scored just before the break, and then the Wildcats scored thrice more after the intermission through Massey, de Breij and Katie Yeatts. Lindsay von der Luft made three saves, and her shutout bid was spoiled by two Drexel goals in the final two minutes, resulting in a 7-2 NU win.
The Wildcats take their No. 6 ranking and eight-game winning streak back on the road this weekend with a trip to Indiana on Friday and then Louisville on Sunday.
Volleyball: (7-9, 0-4 B1G)
A poor start to the conference season and frustrating season over continued this week as Northwestern dropped both of their conference contests this week, on the road against No. 19 Ohio State on Wednesday and then, somewhat surprisingly, at home to unranked Iowa on Sunday. With the defeats, the Wildcats have now dropped five straight matches, four of which have been in straight sets.
On Wednesday, the Buckeyes (11-4, 1-2 B1G) were missing their top hitter in Audra Appold. It didn’t matter much, as they were able to sweep aside the ‘Cats in three sets. Ohio State rolled 25-12 in set two, but the other two frames were much closer, with the Buckeyes prevailing by 25-21 and 28-26 scores in sets one and three, respectively. Northwestern sported a negative hitting percentage in the second set and hit 0.085 on the match as a whole. Without Appold, Taylor Sandbothe and Luisa Schirmer led the Buckeyes with 13 kills each, while libero Valeria Leon recorded an impressive 22 digs in the three-set match.
Ohio State made the third round of the NCAA Tournament and look primed for a run again this year. Iowa is a little different. The Hawkeyes had just two conference wins last year and lost to Northwestern twice, but it seems they wanted to leave the past behind them. Iowa (12-4, 2-2 B1G) rolled on Saturday, doling out a .413 hitting percentage and nine team blocks en route to a 25-18, 25-16, 25-19 straight-sets win. Lauren Brobst led a balanced but lethal Hawkeye attack with 14 kills, but it was a whopping 45 assists by setter Loxley Keala that lifted the Hawkeyes to victory. Symone Abbott followed up a 14-kill performance against OSU with another 10 on Saturday, giving the junior an even 1,000 kills in her career.
The second-toughest schedule in the nation gets even tougher, as the Wildcats’ next five opponents are all ranked in the top 25 in the nation. It gets started on Wednesday against Illinois before a daunting road test with reigning conference champion Minnesota on Sunday.