DURHAM, N.C. — The seventh-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team fell to No. 12 Wake Forest, 3-2, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday afternoon at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium. The Hawkeyes end the season at 14-7 with a Big Ten Tournament runner-up finish and many other milestones.
HOW IT HAPPENED
In an evenly matched first half, the Hawkeyes found the back of the net first on Iowa’s first penalty corner of the game. On an entry pass from midfielder Sophie Sunderland, sophomore Ellie Holley ripped a shot from the top of the circle to put the Hawkeyes up 1-0 in the 17th minute. Sunderland was credited with her fifth assist of the season.
Wake Forest responded less than two minutes later when they scored on their one and only penalty corner of the game to knot the game at one. Iowa was able to avoid two Wake Forest penalty corners by winning two video referrals.
Each team recorded six shots in the first half. The Demon Deacons scored with four minutes left in the first half to lead 2-1 at the break.
Two minutes into the second half, freshman Anthe Nijziel made a defensive save to keep the Hawkeye deficit at one. The Hawkeyes won the possession battle at the beginning of the second half.
Holley put another shot on goal in the 48th minute from the right side of the circle, but Wake Forest made the save. With less than 15 minutes left, Nijziel had her shot blocked on Iowa’s one second-half penalty corner. Iowa held Wake Forest to no penalty corners and three shots in the second half, but Iowa could never push across the decisive goal.
Three minutes after Katie Birch had a good look in front of the cage in the eight minute, the Demon Deacons tacked on another goal to go ahead 3-1. The Hawkeyes pulled goalkeeper Leslie Speight with five minutes remaining, and it paid off.
Junior Isabella Solaroli forced a turnover and scored her second goal of the season on a one-on-one with Wake Forest’s goalkeeper to chip away at the Demon Deacons. It was too little too late as Iowa came up short in the Sweet 16.
- The Hawkeyes outshot Wake Forest 13 to nine and registered three penalty corners to their one.
- Ellie Holley tied her season high with five shot attempts and set a new season-high with three shots on goal.
- Anthe Nijziel recorded her first career defensive save, making it the second straight game Iowa recorded a defensive save.
- It was Iowa’s first NCAA appearance since 2012 and first under head coach Lisa Cellucci.
- Iowa’s 14 wins this season are the most since 2011.
- Iowa returns nearly every starter next season, while three seniors — Makenna Grewe, Isabella Brown, and Riley Kniptash are set to graduate.