No. 16 Hawkeyes Fall To No. 4 Penn State, 4-3

Hawkeye Fan Shop — A Black & Gold Store | 24 Hawkeyes to Watch | Photo Gallery | Box Score (PDF) | Boxscore

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The 16th-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team was edged by No. 4 Penn State, 4-3, Friday at Grant Field in the conference opener for both teams.

The Hawkeyes got off to a quick start, scoring in the second minute. Senior Sophie Plasteras scored her third goal of the season after Penn State’s goalkeeper made a save on junior JoElla Guagilardo to give Iowa a 1-0 advantage.

Iowa (5-2, 0-1) extended its lead in the ninth minute when Katie Birch scored her sixth goal of the year to give the Hawkeyes a 2-0 lead. The freshman’s goal was scored off a corner that was set up by senior Chandler Ackers and junior Melissa Progar.

Redshirt senior Natalie Cafone extended Iowa’s lead to 3-0 in the 26th minute. Cafone drove past a defender and shot the ball to the far post for her seventh goal of the season. Freshman Sophie Sunderland was credited with the assist. The three goals are the most unbeaten Penn State has allowed in seven matches this season.

Penn State (7-0, 1-0) got on the board in the 30th minute off a rebound to make the score, 3-1 before halftime.

The Nittany Lions scored three unanswered goals in the second half to secure the victory. The visitors scored in the 45th minute to make the score, 3-2, and then Mori Putsch scored goals in the 48th minute and the game-winning tally in the 65th minute.

“We didn’t manage the game,” said UI head coach Lisa Cellucci. “We spent a ton of energy in the first half, and as we got fatigued we needed to make much smarter decision defensively and that’s what got the best of us.”

The Hawkeyes registered 10 shots with Cafone leading the way with five. Senior goalkeeper Alexandra Pecora made four saves in the loss.

The No. 16 Hawkeyes are back in action on Sunday when they host Ball State at 1 p.m. (CT) at Grant Field. Admission is free to the public.