Nov. 4, 2005
The University of Iowa field hockey team was knocked out of the Big Ten Tournament today by Michigan, 3-2. The fourth-seeded Wolverines (13-7, 3-3) defeated the fifth-seeded Hawkeyes (10-8, 3-3) to advance to the semifinal round to face No. 1 seed Penn State.
“Our team didn’t feel any more pressure today than we have all season long. Our philosophy has always been to just take one day at a time and to improve with each game,” said Iowa Coach Tracey Griesbaum.
The Hawkeyes shot out of the gate with a goal three minutes into the game. Junior Kelly Slattery rebounded a shot and pushed it to Debbie Birrell. Birrell took a shot at the goal and Caroline Blaum tipped it in for the score. Blaum’s third goal of the season put Iowa up 1-0. Michigan scored shortly before the half-time break when Erin Dallas tipped in a goal on a Kristen Tiner corner shot attempt. It was the fourth Wolverine corner in the half.
At the break, both teams combined for just five shots. Beth Riley and Lissa Munley each tallied one goal. The Hawkeyes didn’t earn any corner shots in the first half.
Lucia Belassi picked up her seventh season goal shortly after the intermission to put Michigan on top 2-1. Later in the half, Heather Schnepf, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, was called for illegal use of the body when advancing the ball and the Wolverines were awarded a penalty stroke. Kara Lentz converted the stroke into a score, padding Michigan’s lead, 3-1.
With time winding down, Iowa was on the offensive attack. The Hawkeyes earned their own penalty stroke when Riley used her body to cover up a shot by Caitlin McCurdy. Lauren Pfeiffer took her first collegiate penalty stroke and scored for the Hawkeyes to close the gap to 3-2. She had another chance to score a few minutes later on a corner shot, but was denied and the Wolverines went on to win the game, 3-2.
Iowa only managed six shots in the game; McCurdy and Pfeifer each took two and Birrell and Kadi Sickel each had one shot. The Hawkeyes had four corners to six by Michigan. Munley had four saves in the game, one in the first half and three in the second.
“We had a tough time dealing with Michigan’s perimeter defense and couldn’t make any changes until after half-time,” said Griesbaum. “We are good at executing corner shots, we just didn’t get many opportunities.”
Despite the unhappy ending of today’s game, Griesbaum is looking forward to the future with her young squad.
“The future is now,” said Griesbaum.
The Hawkeyes will find out about their immediate future next Tuesday when the national pairings for the 2005 NCAA Field Hockey Tournament are announced.