Field hockey will defend its winning streak at home this weekend against Mid-American Conference opponent Missouri State on Saturday and Northwestern on Sunday.
CMU remains in a three-way tie with Miami (Ohio) and Ohio for second place in the MAC with a 2-1 conference record and an overall record of 5-9.
Missouri State enters Saturday’s match with a 3-11 record, winning two of seven away games. CMU stands unbeaten (3-0) when facing opponents on its own turf, and will be faced with the biggest challenge yet in this weekend’s double-header.
The Bears have no problem traveling and winning, they have more away matches than home. The match in Mount Pleasant will be their last match before the final home match of the year. Yet MSU have yet to defeat a Mid-American Conference opponent.
Northwestern on the other hand is ranked No. 13 in the nation for field hockey, losing only four matches this year, three of which were against nationally ranked teams.
Northwestern is averaging 2.38 goals per game and giving up an average of only 1.19 goals. CMU averages 1.50 goals per game and allows 2.00 per game. Biggest threat for Northwestern is senior Nikki Parsley with a scoring record of 12 goals on the season so far compared to the Chippewas 21 goals for their entire team for the season.
Against Big Ten teams this season, CMU has been outscored 10-1, scoring only on Iowa in a 7-1 defeat. The last time the Chippewas beat a Big Ten team was in 2009, edging the University of Michigan 1-0.
The Wildcats are sure to be the toughest opponent CMU has seen at home this year, and surely will test the Chippewas to the limit before a possible tiebreaker for second place against Miami.
A key player to a possible pair of CMU victories is senior midfielder Skylar VanNatta.
VanNatta was awarded MAC Defensive Player of the Week and has proved over her career that she can be dangerous from any position. VanNatta was awarded MAC Offensive Player of the Week last year for her efforts up field.