No. 8 Iowa to Face No. 7 Michigan in B1G Semfinals

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The eighth-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team takes on second-seeded and No. 7 Michigan in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Friday, Nov. 2 at 2:30 p.m. (CT). Hosted by Northwestern, the game will take place at Lakside Field in Evanston, Illinois. 

Iowa field hockey fans can follow all contest via live stats on Click on the
“Live Stats” link found on the field hockey schedule page to access the live stats feed. Fans can follow @IowaFieldHockey on Twitter for live in-game updates. 

Iowa’s Friday semifinal matchup against No. 7 Michigan will be televised on BTN with Dan Kelly and Kara Lentz on the call. 

• Iowa has controlled games and limited shots for most of the season. The Hawkeyes have more than doubled their opponents in shots (241 to 117) and nearly doubled their opponents in penalty corner attempts (112 to 60). 
• The Hawkeyes finished the regular season 6-2 at home, 8-1 against non-conference opponents, and 5-5 against top-25 opponents. All five of Iowa’s losses this year came against top-25 opponents with four of the five coming by only one goal. Three losses were against top-10 opponents (No. 2 North Carolina, No. 6 Michigan, and No. 2 Maryland). 
• The Hawkeyes are 9-0 when scoring at least three goals this season after defeating third-seeded Penn State, 3-2, in double overtime on Sunday, Oct. 28. 
• Sophomore Maddy Murphy leads the team in goals (13), points (33), and game-winning goals (4). Murphy’s 13 goals and 33 points are both third most in the Big Ten. Murphy’s sophomore campaign has featured her first career hat trick against No. 6 Penn State, a seven-point game with three assists against Dartmouth, and two stretches where she scored a goal in three straight games.
• Junior Katie Birch leads the team in assists (9), shots attempted (53), and shots on goal (32).
• Junior Sophie Sunderland is tied for the second most Hawkeye goals (7) and third in points (18). 

• Second-seeded and seventh-ranked Michigan is coming off a 3-1 victory over seventh-seeded Northwestern. The Wolverines were Co-Big Ten regular season champs, finishing 7-1 in the conference and are currently on a four-game win streak.
• Former Hawkeye All-American, Marcia Pankratz, is the head coach for Michigan. She is in her 19th overall season and owns 275-121 career record with a 95-37 conference record.
• Michigan’s offense is led by Emma Way, who leads the Big Ten with 17 goals and is tied for the most points in the conference with 37. Forward Meg Dowthwaite is second on the Wolverines with nine goals and 21 points. Michigan’s goalkeeper Anna Speiker is 11-4 on the season with 56 saves and a .737 save percentage. 
• The Hawkeyes fell to Michigan, 2-1, on Oct. 5, despite outshooting the Wolverines 13-7. Iowa leads the all-time series 40-26 over Michigan.

Sixth-seeded Iowa upended third-seeded Penn State, 3-2, in a double overtime thriller in the Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals. Penn State began the game with all the momentum, leading 1-0 at halftime. The Hawkeyes responded in the second half on Sophie Sunderland’s seventh goal of the season to tie the game at one. Minutes later, sophomore Ellie Holley put Iowa ahead 2-1 with 18 minutes left to play. Penn State scored with two minutes left to send the game to overtime, tied 2-2. Iowa goalkeeper Leslie Speight made four clutch saves in overtime, which allowed Anthe Nijziel to score the game-winning goal to cap off Iowa’s second 3-2 victory over Penn State this season.

Three Hawkeyes — Maddy Murphy, Katie Birch, and Sophie Sunderland — earned All-Big Ten honors. Murphy garnered first team All-Big Ten recognition after posting career highs in goals scored and total points, while Birch and Sunderland were named second team All-Big Ten selections. Senior Riley Kniptash was named Iowa’s Sportsmanship Award honoree. It was Murphy’s second career all-conference honor, Birch’s third career honor, and Sunderland’s first of her career. 
The Hawkeyes are in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2013 when they advanced to the championship game. Iowa has won five Big Ten Tournament titles (1981, 1994, 2006, 2007, and 2008) in program history, including a three-peat from 2006-08. Along with Penn State and Michigan, Iowa is one of three schools to win five or more tournament titles. Iowa is 30-20 all-time at the Big Ten Tournament, which are the most wins by any Big Ten school. 

The Hawkeye defense has been outstanding all season long, allowing just 0.91 goals per game, good for fourth in the nation and tops in the Big Ten. Iowa’s defense has allowed only 117 shots and 60 penalty corners in 18 games this season. Iowa’s offense has recorded 241 shots — the fifth most in the Big Ten — and 112 penalty corners. Junior goalkeeper Leslie Speight’s seven shutouts are the most in the Big Ten and her .764 save percentage is second best in the conference and 11th best in the country. 

In a conference that features seven top-25 opponents, Iowa finished .500 (4-4) to tie for fourth with Rutgers and Ohio State. The Hawkeyes started the conference slate with a 3-0 win over Indiana, followed by wins over Michigan State, No. 23 Ohio State, and No. 6 Penn State. Iowa finished the season with six straight ranked opponents, winning three of them. Murphy’s five goals and Birch’s four assists led the Hawkeyes in conference play. Iowa more than doubled their Big Ten opponents in shots (93-42) and penalty corners (47-23), but failed to capitalize in key moments. 

All seven freshman have seen the field this season. Freshmen Anthe Nijziel and Lokke Stribos have started all 18 games and have played a key part in the Hawkeye defense. In Iowa’s 3-2 quarterfinal win over Penn State, Nijziel, who earned Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week on Sept. 17, recorded four points on one goal and two assists. On the season, Nijziel has five goals and four assists. Stribos recorded her fourth assist in Iowa’s 3-2 win over No. 6 Penn State. Freshmen have accounted for seven goals and eight assists this season. 

Seven Hawkeyes have scored at least three goals, while 11 different Hawkeyes have scored a goal this season. Of Iowa’s 46 goals, 38 have been assisted on. Katie Birch leads the team with nine assists — the fourth most in the Big Ten, while seven other Hawkeyes have at least three assists. 

Seven Big Ten schools — No. 2 Maryland, No. 7 Michigan, No. 8 IOWA, No. 9 Penn State, No. 11 Rutgers, No. 19 Ohio State, and No. 23 Northwestern — are ranked in the latest Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I National Coaches Poll. Iowa has moved up 12 spots since being ranked 20th in the preseason rankings on Aug. 20. The Hawkeyes finished the regular season facing 10 top-25 opponents and four top-10 opponents. Iowa is 6-5 against ranked opponents this season with wins over No. 14 Wake Forest, No. 25 California, No. 23 Ohio State, No. 21 Stanford, and No. 6/7 Penn State. All of Iowa’s losses this season were from ranked opponents with four of them coming by one goal.

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, scoring 14 goals, and recording 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. 

The Big Ten Championship is set for Sunday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. (CT). The other semifinal matchup features top-seeded Maryland and fourth-seeded Ohio State. 

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