|Friday, September 8
Updated: September 12, 2:05 PM ET
Fronzoni nets hat trick
By David Roth
Note: The following stories are the most recent wire transmissions from SportsTicker and other ESPN.com sources. Versions of some of these stories appear elsewhere on the service.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (U-WIRE) -- As a Michigan freshman, there's only one thing you can do to get recognition.
April Fronzoni could quickly become a household name as she nabbed four goals this weekend, a hat trick Sunday against Ohio and another goal against American to lead the Michigan field hockey team to a pair of 6-1 victories in its home openers.
"It's a really great start for my collegiate career," Fronzoni said. "I wanted to come out strong for the first home opener and show this town what we're all about. The freshman class is here to help out and we're running for a national championship."
Sophomore Molly Powers was also a dominant force - scoring her fifth goal in five games in the home opener.
Sunday she shared the riches, tallying two assists, and also shared the credit, attributing her success to playing at Ocker Field, Michigan's home turf.
"There's nothing like playing on this field," Powers said. "It's my favorite turf in the country, and we play in front of the greatest fans. It's so awesome how everyone comes and cheers us on. It psyches me up like no other."
Psyched like no other, Powers began the barrage on Ohio goalie Tara Elliot. Powers eluded a pair of defenders, carrying the ball into the arc and dishing off to sophomore Jessica Rose, who tapped the ball in with 15:06 left in the first half.
Five minutes later, on a penalty corner, Jeanne Shin set up a Courtney Reid shot that was deflected to and put in by senior Kelli Gannon.
The Wolverines came out hungry in the second half and scored two goals in the first four minutes. Fronzoni blasted a shot in with 33:03 left in the game, and Powers made a diving pass to set up Fronzoni again with 31:15 left in the game.
Despite Michigan's four-goal lead, Ohio got a second wind and threatened a comeback, setting up a penalty corner opportunity with 20:40 left in the game.
But Michigan defender Laura Stinson had different plans and stole the ball away, sending it to Rose, who found herself with Fronzoni and no defenders in sight. Rose dished it off to Fronzoni, who scored her third goal in 13 minutes with 20:15 left in the game.
Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz was thrilled with her young forward's play. Pankratz described Fronzoni as dangerous, dynamic and exciting. "Our whole attack is that way," Pankratz said. "She typifies what our whole attack is about - which is danger. Speed is so dangerous and she has it."
With young players like Fronzoni contributing, Pankratz is freed up to utilize all her players and keep a fresh rotation on the field at all times.
"We're very deep and very versatile," Pankratz said. "In games like this we had everyone in rotating around and practicing positions for later in the season."
The Ohio game gave freshman goalkeeper Molly Maloney invaluable experience, as the youngster got to play the entire game.
Maloney, like Fronzoni, showed that being young doesn't mean being inferior. Maloney came up with seven big saves, many within a circle crowded by Bobcats on penalty corners.
The games this weekend were the first in a five-game homestand against unranked opponents. With a tough Big Ten conference slate later in the season, these games are great confidence builders for the team.
"By the middle of the season, we're going to be unbelievable and unstoppable," Fronzoni said.