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EVANSTON, Ill. — The sixth-seeded University of Iowa field hockey team beat second-seeded Michigan, 2-1, in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Friday afternoon at Lakeside Field. Goals by Mya Christopher and Makenna Grewe propelled Iowa to its first birth in the Big Ten Championship since 2013.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Iowa wasted no time scoring, finding the back of the net seven minutes into the game. Christopher put the Hawkeyes ahead 1-0 when she dribbled along the baseline and poked it passed the Michigan goalkeeper to score an unassisted goal, her fourth of the season.
Iowa rattled off another five shots and two more penalty corners in the first half, but couldn’t push another goal across. The Hawkeyes led 1-0 at halftime, limiting Michigan to only one shot and one penalty corner.
Like the first half, Iowa started the second half strong, extending its lead in the 42nd minute. Katie Birch attempted a backhanded shot on the left side, and Makenna Grewe got a stick on it for a redirect goal, her fifth of the year, to put Iowa up 2-0.
Michigan wouldn’t go away quietly, scoring six minutes later when Emma Way redirected a pass from outside the circle, which cut Iowa’s lead to 2-1. Iowa registered seven shots in the second half, but the game came down to the final minute when Michigan rattled off four straight penalty corners.
Iowa stopped all four. Leslie Speight made a save on the final Michigan penalty corner attempt to push Iowa past Michigan and advance to the Big Ten Championship game.
QUOTING COACH CELLUCCI
“I’m so proud of the team. Their resilience throughout the entire course of the game and, on the defensive end, especially on those last four penalty corners. I was really impressed. We stuck to the game plan. We wanted to get off to a fast start; we did that. That put Michigan on their heels. We continued to put them under pressure. They had their runs, but we held tight. I’m really proud to be moving on.”
“Survive and advance. This group of Hawks hasn’t had the chance to play for a championship and now they do and I couldn’t be more proud. We’ve been getting better and better every week of the season. Now it’s here on Sunday. We’re excited to get back to work and play on Sunday.”
HEAR FROM THE STUDENT-ATHLETES
Ellie Holley: “I am so proud of every single player on this team. The grit that we showed for 70 minutes, the defense, the offense, the composure that every player has on the ball — this was a team game and we showed Michigan that we are Iowa and we’re going to beat you.”
On facing four straight Michigan penalty corners to end the game:
“I won’t lie; it was stressful, especially being on the halfway line. That’s why we practice. We are ready for Michigan’s corners. I am so proud of the five in goal to do four corners one after the other with the pressure was on them — that’s amazing.”
Katie Birch: “It was a battle. We were a bit nervous at the end when they had those four penalty corners. We always says GWI (Great Wall of Iowa) — defend like our lives depend on it. We really did that today. We’re excited to come out of here with a win and face Maryland on Sunday.”
“I’m so excited (to go to the Big Ten Championship). Junior year is the year apparently. We are an amazing team, such a young team to be going to the final.”
- The Hawkeyes are heading to the Big Ten Championship for the first time since 2013.
- Today’s win also marked Iowa’s first win over Michigan in the last 10 meetings.
- The Hawkeyes had 13 shots — nine on goal — and three penalty corners.
- Leslie Speight made three saves on Michigan’s four shots on goal.
- Mya Christopher scored her fourth goal of the season, besting her season total from last year.
The Hawkeyes play in the Big Ten Championship on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. (CT) against top-seeded and second-ranked Maryland. The game will be televised on BTN. Iowa lost to Maryland, 2-1, in the regular season.