The 10th-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team returns home for two games against top-25 opponents this weekend. On Friday, Iowa faces No. 6 Michigan at 3 p.m. (CT) in a pivotal Big Ten matchup, followed by a game against No. 21 Stanford at 2 p.m. (CT) on Sunday. Admission is free.
On Friday against Michigan, fans are encouraged to wear pink. Sunday’s game against Stanford is scout day and educator appreciation day.
FOLLOW ON THE WEB
Iowa field hockey fans can follow all contest via live stats on hawkeyesports.com. Click on the “Live Stats” link found on the field hockey schedule page to access the live stats feed. Fans can also follow @IowaFieldHockey on Twitter for live in-game updates.
Friday and Sunday’s matches will be streamed live on BTN Plus. To see if your cable package gives you access to BTN Plus content, sign up for BTN Plus, or learn more about it visit btn2go.com.
SCOUTING NO. 6 MICHIGAN
• The Wolverines are 8-4 this season and a conference-leading 4-1 in Big Ten Play. Michigan is currently on a two-game win streak with wins over No. 10 Northwestern and Indiana. Michigan is 2-3 on the road and owns a 3-4 against top-25 opponents this season.
• Former Hawkeye and two-time Olympian, Marcia Pankratz, is in her 19th overall season at Michigan. Among many accolades, Pankratz was a two-time Honda Broderick finalist, two-time national All-American, and a two-time first team All-Big Ten selection from 1982-85 while at Iowa. She is in her second stint at the helm of the Wolverines and owns a 275-121 career record, best for the most wins in school history. Last season, Pankratz led the Wolverines to a 21-3 record, including an 8-0 conference record, en route to an NCAA semifinal appearance. Pankratz is a former Hawkeye with a decorates playing career
• Michigan is led be senior forward Emma Way, who has scored a Big Ten best 13 goals on 59 shots. Midfielder Meg Dowthwaite has netted six goals for the Wolverines. Freshman goalkeeper Anna Spieker is 6-3 in nine starts this season, recording 38 saves and two shutouts on the year.
• Michigan has won the last eight matchups, but Iowa is 40-25 all time against the Wolverines.
SCOUTING NO. 21 STANFORD
• After three straight losses to top-12 opponents, Stanford has won seven straight games for a 7-3 mark this season. In Stanford’s seven-game win streak, the Cardinal have outscored opponents 34-4.
• Tara Danielson, who owns a 123-46 career record, is Stanford’s head coach. Hired in 2010, the Cardinal have won four conference titles and made seven NCAA Tournament appearances under Danielson.
• Sophomore attacker Corinne Zanolli leads the Stanford offense with 15 goals on 30 shots on goal along with five assists for 35 points. Four other Cardinal have scored at least three goals. Junior goalkeeper Kelsey Bing has 49 saves to only 11 goals allowed, while recording two shutouts.
• Iowa fell to Stanford 3-2 on the road last year. The Hawkeyes are 12-9 against Stanford in program history.
Iowa extended its winning streak to three games with conference wins over Michigan State and No. 23 Ohio State. On Sept. 28, Iowa recorded its sixth shutout of the season to beat the Spartans 4-0. Four different Hawkeyes scored in the win, including Ellie Holley’s first goal of the season. On Sept. 30, the Hawkeyes battled to a 2-1 overtime victory over No. 23 Ohio State. Sophie Sunderland scored the first goal of the game on a redirect from Katie Birch, while Birch netted the game-winning goal in the second overtime period.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
The Hawkeyes are 4-0 at home this season and are outscoring opponents 19-1 at Grant Field. Since 1989, the Hawkeyes are 157-56 at home, including this season.
Against Michigan State on Sept. 28, Iowa recorded its sixth shutout of the season, already doubling its shutout total from last season. In 12 games this season, the Hawkeyes are limiting opponents to 6.2 shots and 0.64 goals per game. Iowa’s goals against average is the second best in the nation behind No. 1 North Carolina. With 77 penalty corners, Iowa has nearly doubled their opponents’ 43 penalty corner attempts this season. Goalkeeper Leslie Speight has been the backbone of the Hawkeye defense, leading the Big Ten in shutouts (6), goals against average (0.64), and saves percentage (.826).
ON ANOTHER LEVEL
Speight’s goalkeeping statistics stack up nationally as well. Her .826 save percentage ranks third best in the country, while her 0.64 goals against average is second best in the nation, trailing only No. 1 North Carolina’s Amanda Henry.
SHARING THE WEALTH
Five Hawkeyes have scored at least four goals, while 11 different Hawkeyes have scored a goal this season. Of Iowa’s 35 goals, 38 have been assisted on, which is the third most in the Big Ten. Katie Birch leads the team with eight assists, while five other Hawkeyes have at least three assists.
All seven freshman have seen the field this season. Freshmen Anthe Nijziel and Lokke Stribos have started all 12 games and have played a key part in the Hawkeye defense. Nijziel, who earned Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week on Sept. 17, has three goals, while Stribos has three assists and one goal after scoring against No. 25 Cal on Sept. 22. Freshman Leah Zellner has started eight of 12 games and recorded 11-of-15 shots on goal with one goal scored.
• Iowa is outscoring opponents 35-8 this season and is 6-0 when scoring three or more goals this season. Iowa’s 2.18 average scoring margin ranks ninth best in the country.
• The Hawkeyes evened their overtime record to 1-1 with a win over No. 23 Ohio State.
• The Hawkeyes average 13.8 shots per games, the fourth most in the Big Ten, while only allowing an average of 6.2 shots per game.
• Iowa’s 35 goals are the fourth most in the Big Ten and Iowa’s 28 assists are the third most in the Big Ten.
• Sophomore Maddy Murphy’s nine goals are tied for the third most in the Big Ten, while her 23 points the third most in the Big Ten. Murphy has scored in all but four games this season.
• Junior Katie Birch has eight assists and seven goals for 22 points, the fourth most in the Big Ten. Birch’s 40 shots are also tied for the fifth most in the conference. Birch’s latest goal was a game-winner against Ohio State in the second overtime period.
• Sophie Sunderland has the third most goals on the team with five.
Seven Big Ten schools — No. 2 Maryland, No. 6 Michigan, No. 7 Penn State, No. 10 Iowa, No. 12 Northwestern, No. 15 Rutgers, and No. 25 Ohio State — are ranked in the latest Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I National Coaches Poll. Iowa has moved up 10 spots since being ranked 20th in the preseason rankings on Aug. 20. Iowa is ranked in the top 10 nationally for the first time since Oct. 7, 2014. The Hawkeyes are set to face 10 top-25 and four top-10 ranked opponents in the regular season. Iowa is 3-2 against top-25 opponents with wins against No. 14 Wake Forest, No. 25 California, and No. 23 Ohio State, all of which were away from home. Including this weekend, Iowa wraps up the season with five straight opponents ranked 21st or better, including three top-10 teams.
ROZ ELLIS RETURNS
Former two-time first team All-Big Ten selection and three-time Big Ten Tournament Champion, Roz Ellis, is back with the Hawkeyes as an assistant coach. Ellis started all 83 games of her career, scored 14 goals, and recorded 11 assists from 2005-08. Ellis was an assistant coach at five different schools before returning to her alma mater. As a senior and team captain in 2008, Ellis anchored a Hawkeye defense that reached the Final Four, which was Iowa’s first appearance since 1999.
The Hawkeyes stay at home for Big Ten games against No. 7 Penn State on Oct. 12 at 2:30 p.m. (CT) and No. 2 Maryland on Oct. 14 at 5 p.m. (CT). Sunday’s game against No. 2 Maryland will be televised on BTN.