No. 6 Northwestern returns home on Friday afternoon to Lakeside Field following a four-game road trip with a showdown against No. 19 Ohio State at 3 pm CT.
Northwestern is ranked 6th in the latest NFHCA Poll and has now been ranked sixth or higher all season. The Wildcats’ 10 wins are tied for the third highest total by any ranked team.
This past weekend, the Wildcats traveled to Michigan first to play #2 Michigan on Friday. After falling behind 1-0 to start the game, the Wildcat defense locked in, not allowing a goal for the next 65:38, before losing the closely contested match 2-1 in 2OT. The Wildcats rebounded on Sunday at Ball State in a 6-1 win, jumping out to a 5-0 lead at halftime. Bente Baekers finished with a hat trick as well as an assist, while Lauren Wadas and Kayla Blas finished with three and two assists, respectively.
Last year, the ‘Cats won a pair of one-goal affairs at home against Ohio State, before dropping a tight 2-1 contest to the Buckeyes in the semifinals of the 2020 Big Ten Tournament. Both wins came in overtime periods with Wadas and Baekers scoring a pair of goals in the contests. The Wildcats have not lost to the Buckeyes in a regular season game since Oct. 5, 2018.
The ‘Cats are 4-1 at home this season, outscoring their opponents by an average margin of victory of 4.5 goals per game. The Wildcats have now won 12 of their last 13 home games at Lakeside Field, dating back to October of 2019.
Baekers leads all Big Ten players in assists per game (0.67) and points (34) while ranking second in the Big Ten in goals per game (1.08). Clara Roth, who scored the lone Wildcat goal against Michigan, ranks fourth in the Big Ten with eight goals and fifth in the conference with 22 points. As a team, the Wildcats lead the Big Ten and rank second nationally with 3.29 assists per game. Northwestern’s prolific offense also finishes in the Top 5 nationally in goals per game (3.79), points per game (10.86), scoring average (3.66), and scoring margin (2.41). The Wildcats’ ability to draw penalty corners has helped their offense flourish, ranking second in the conference with 7.71 penalty corners a game.
No. 19 Ohio State makes up one of seven Big Ten teams currently ranked in the Top-20 of the latest NFHCA Poll.