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Northwesterns Field Hockey Depth Prediction for the 2024 Season

Northwesterns Field Hockey Depth Prediction for the 2024 Season
Northwesterns Field Hockey Depth Prediction for the 2024 Season

 


Northwestern field hockey played as long as it could last year, taking the national championship game to a penalty shootout. However, it was defeated by just one goal by North Carolina as the Tar Heels defeated the Wildcats in a second consecutive title game. It still had a successful season, however, compiling a 21-2 overall record and capturing both the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles.

While the Wildcats will lose some key players from the 2023 roster, they will still retain the majority of their roster and gain key additions. Expect the Wildcats to remain one of the best teams in the country next season.

In Goal

It was recently announced that starting goalkeeper Annabel Skubisz will return for her fifth season, which is probably the best news the Cats could have received.

Skubisz was arguably the nation’s best goalie last season, with an NCAA-leading .849 save percentage and her first IFHCA All-American honor (the only goalie to do so). She made 79 saves and allowed just 14 goals in 23 games, 11 of which were goalless. In addition to putting up incredible stats, Skubisz was phenomenal in the clutch, with her penalty save against UNC in the national title game keeping Northwestern alive.

The defense

The biggest loss from the backfield is Alia Marshall, a key player for the team on both sides of the ball the past five seasons. After playing her final collegiate season on both field hockey and lacrosse, her time in Evanston is finally over.

Katie Jones, one of NU’s defensive mainstays, also returns for her fifth year. Jones started 19 of 23 games and recorded two defensive saves, which is tied for the most on the team. The other player with two defensive saves is Lauren Wadas, who also has an additional year of eligibility. Wadas was the only Northwestern player besides Skubisz to be named a first-team All-American and will be a big boost for the team when she returns.

Greta Hinke, Maja Zivojnovic and Ilse Tromp are three underclassmen slated to step up for the Wildcats next season. Rising junior Zivojnovic hopes to play her full collegiate season in 2024, as her 2022 and 2023 seasons were cut short due to injury. She showed flashes of potential to become one of the nation’s top players in early 2023, being named NFHCA Player of the Week and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. Hinke is also a rising junior, starting 18 games and earning second-team All-Big Ten honors.

Tromp was one of the team's first-year standouts, both offensively and defensively. Her 1,245 minutes played were the most of any player not named Skubisz, and she was also named second-team All-Big Ten.

The attack

Marshall was the team’s leading facilitator last season, with two goals and 24 assists. The latter stat led the team by a significant margin. She was also second in the nation in assists per game, with 1.04.

Lindsey Frank, another field hockey and lacrosse athlete, will also be leaving. The Richmond graduate transfer played in 19 of 23 games for the Wildcats.

Without Marshall, rising senior Lauren Hunter will be Northwestern’s primary facilitator. She didn’t become a consistent starter until October of last season, but her presence has been making its presence felt, racking up 12 assists, the second-most on the team.

Hunter will be joined in midfield by redshirt senior Maddie Zimmer, who returns after taking a year off to compete for the U.S. hockey team at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Zimmer was a first-team All-American in both 2021 and 2022, but will be even better this season with more international experience under her belt.

Wadas had eight goals and six assists last season, the question is whether she will return. The same goes for midfielder Chloe Relford, who started 21 of the 23 games in midfield and has an extra year of service left.

Northwestern's biggest offensive loss is Peyton Halsey, the team's leading scorer and point earner from last season. She scored 13 goals, had 10 assists and had a team-high .228 shooting percentage among forwards who started consistently all season.

Halsey will pass the baton to rising sophomores Olivia Bent-Cole and Tromp this upcoming season. As the 2022 MAX Field Hockey National Player of the Year, Bent-Cole came into her freshman season with high expectations and she delivered. She had 10 goals and five assists, one of which was the game-winning goal in the Big Ten tournament title game against Maryland. Though Tromp is listed as a defenseman, she began playing offense later in the season and scored 11 goals, second most on the team.

Another defender with a lot of goals is Zivojnovic, who has scored nine goals and provided one assist in just twelve games.

The Wildcats gain US Olympian and UNC transfer forward Ashley Sessa, who comes in with three years of eligibility remaining. She’s been a huge addition to the team, scoring nine goals and adding five assists on the Tar Heels’ undefeated 2022 national championship team. Look for rising senior Lane Herbert to see more playing time next season. She’s scored her goals and added an assist in just 655 minutes of play.

Sources

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2/ https://www.insidenu.com/2024/7/9/24194443/projecting-northwesterns-field-hockey-depth-for-the-2024-season

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