IOWA CITY, IOWA — The University of Iowa field hockey team extended its winning streak to five after scoring three second-half goals against Penn to win 3-0 Friday afternoon at Grant Field. The win moved Iowa to 6-1 on the season.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Iowa registered nine shots in the first half to Penn’s one, but the game was tied at halftime. After many stoppages in play due to video referrals and a reversed Iowa goal, the Hawkeyes finally found the back on the net with 13 minutes left to play.
Iowa’s first goal came off a beautifully designed penalty corner where the ball was eventually passed to freshman Anthe Nijziel inside the circle on the right side. She scored her second goal of the season off a pass from Sophie Sunderland, who was credited with the assist.
Seven minutes later (64:40), junior Katie Birch scored her fifth goal of the season to extend Iowa’s lead to 2-0. Penn pulled goalkeeper Ava Rosati with just over five minutes remaining, and then the Hawkeyes scored again, this time in the 69th minute.
Sophomore Maddy Murphy was tied for the team lead with five goals scored after Birch netted her’s, but not for long. Murphy scored her sixth goal of the season on an unassisted play to cap off a strong second half for the Hawkeyes.
On a hot day against a scrappy Penn team, the Hawkeyes stayed true to their game plan to continue their winning ways.
“(Penn) really brought it to us,” Katie Birch said. “It was very frantic, very fast kind of game. It was just on us to calm down in the second half. We needed to control a little better in the second half, and we did. We executed our game plan and we put away three goals. It was a good way to finish.”
QUOTING COACH CELLUCCI
“This was a battle. We expected to be tested by Penn. They’re a great team. So many stoppages in play can really take away the momentum. I told the team I was really proud of how they chipped away. We stuck to our game plan. We kept chipping away and were able to finally put some goals on the board.”
On Sunday’s Big Ten opener:
“Sunday is huge because it’s our first Big Ten game. We want start off the conference on the winning side. Indiana is a great team. We need to be well prepared for them. Today was a great opportunity to move forward and build on what we’ve been trying to work on. It’s great to be here on Grant Field for the first Big Ten game on the Big Ten Network with over 70 of our alumni in the stands that we want to do our best to represent in front of.”
- This is Iowa’s first five-game winning streak since 2014.
- The Hawkeyes didn’t allow a goal on any of Penn’s six corners, four of which were in the second half.
- Iowa outshot Penn 18 to five with nine shots in each half.
- Junior goalkeeper Leslie Speight recorded her third straight shutout with three more saves today. Speight has four shutouts this season along with 28 saves compared to only four goals allowed and a .875 save percentage.
- Freshman Anthe Nijziel has scored a goal in back-to-back games.
- Katie Birch and Maddy Murphy both scored goals on a combined nine shots. Birch leads the team in assists (5) and is second on the team in points (15), while Murphy leads the team with six goals and 16 points.
On Sunday at noon (CT), the Hawkeyes open Big Ten play against Indiana at Grant Field. The game will be televised on BTN with Dan Kelly and Kara Lentz on the call. Sunday is also Alumni Day, where 70 women and four teams (’83, ’88, ’93, and ’08) will be honored for their Hawkeye achievements that paved the way for Iowa’s field hockey program. Fans are encouraged to wear gold.