The eighth-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team hosts No. 14 Ohio State (Friday, 3 p.m. CT.) and No. 24 Michigan State (Sunday, 12 p.m. CT.) this weekend at Grant Field. These two conference matchups are Iowa’s first of the season. Admission is free.
• Flashback Friday (Sept. 27) – Black rally towels will be given to a select number of fans early to Grant Field.
• Sunday (Sept. 29) – Fan Fest – Prior to the game there will be a bounce house for kids along with corn hole, a Hawkeye tattoo station, and free giveaways for all field hockey and soccer fans.
FOLLOW ON THE WEB
• Iowa field hockey fans can follow all contests via live stats on hawkeyesports.com. Click on the “Live Stats” link found on the field hockey schedule page.
• Fans can also follow @IowaFieldHockey on Twitter for live in-game updates.
• Both games will be streamed live on BTN+ (subscription) or use BTN ToGo for free access on campus.
No. 8 Iowa traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan for a neutral site matchup against Kent State. The Hawkeyes increased their all-time series lead to 9-1 after a 5-1 victory on Saturday. The team captured two early goals in the first three minutes of play by sophomore Anthe Nijziel (1:20) and junior Maddy Murhpy. (2:33), followed by another goal just before half by Murphy (26:32). Sophomore Meghan Conroy scored Iowa’s first goal in the second half (32:47) before senior Katie Birch scored Iowa’s final goal (50:14), securing the team’s fifth win on the season. Maddy Murphy scored or assisted in 4-of-5 scores in the victory.
SCOUTING NO. 14 OHIO STATE (4-3, 0-1)
• Ohio State is 4-3 on the season, facing top-25 competition against No. 11 Virginia (L, 2-1), No. 8 Lousiville (L, 2-1), and No. 11 Northwestern (L, 4-1).
• Senior Esther Clotet Alsina, junior Nikki Trzaska, and freshman Mackenzie Allessie all lead the team in goals (6). Allessie also holds the team’s best mark in assists (4) on the season.
• The Buckeye coaching staff is headed by Jarred Martin, who took the helm in Columbus in 2016 after a 10-year coaching stint at Duke University.
IOWA VS. OHIO STATE — THE SERIES
• The Hawkeyes lead the series 48-14 all-time against Ohio State. The Hawkeyes have won the last three matchups, including the last matchup on September 30 last year, where the Hawkeyes defeated the Buckeyes, 2-1, in Columbus.
SCOUTING NO. 24 MICHIGAN STATE (5-3, 0-0)
• Michigan State is 5-3 on the season, facing top-25 competition against then No. 12 Louisville (L, 1-4) and No. 3 Conneticut (L, 0-2).
• Junior Lia Sinisi leads the team in goals (4), while junior Cara Bonshak leads in assists (4).
• Head coach Helen Knull is entering her nineth season as head coach in 2019. She was hired as head coach on Dec. 27, 2010 after serving as an assistant and associate head coach for five years. Her overall record on staff for the Spartans is 141-128, and she holds a 67-94 record as head coach.
IOWA VS. MICHIGAN STATE — THE SERIES
• Iowa leads the series all-time against the Spartans 52-14-1, while maintaining a 20-7 record at Grant Field.
• The last matchup between the two Big Ten programs came last season on September 28, where the Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans in dominant fashion 4-0.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING — TEAM STATS
• The Hawkeyes had their first single-game weekend this season last week, facing Kent State on a neutral site in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Play was fairly contested through the majority of the match, but Iowa was able to capitalize on their opportunities to score. Iowa totaled 13 shots, five of which were goals. Kent State got off seven shots, but goalkeeper Leslie Speight held them to only one goal.
• The Hawkeyes had a different scoring pattern against Kent State. With the exception of Iowa’s final goal in the 50th minute from senior Katie Birch, the team scored goals in quick succession to and directly after a break in play. Within the first three minutes of play, Anthe Nijziel (1:20) and Maddy Murphy (2:33) gave the Hawkeyes an early lead. After Kent State’s lone goal, Murphy retaliated less than two minutes later (26:32). Sophomore Meghan Conroy contriubted to the lead directly after halftime with a goal in the 32nd minute.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING — INDIVIDUAL STATS
• Seniors Sophie Sunderland and Katie Birch lead the team in goals (5), followed by Maddy Murphy with four and Anthe Nijziel with three. Sofie Stribos and Lokke Stribos both boast two goals.
• 12 Hawkeyes have scored at least one goal so far this season.
• Birch leads the team in assists with five thus far, followed by Maddy Murphy with four. Murphy attained two assists and two goals this past weekend against Kent State. Meghan Conroy, Sophie Sunderland, Ellie Holley, and Sofie Stribos sport two assists a piece.
• Senior goalkeeper Leslie Speight saw seven shots last weekend, saving four. Iowa’s defensive efforts have forced numerous turnovers, keeping pressure away from the net.
• The Big Ten Conference boasts seven ranked programs in the latest 2019 Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I National Coaches Poll. Five teams are among the top-15 (Maryland, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, Northwestern). Michigan State remains ranked, sitting at No. 24, while Penn State fell out of the rankings. The Nittany Lions join the Hoosiers as the only unranked Big Ten programs.
SUNDERLAND EARNS B1G WEEKLY HONORS
Senior Sophie Sunderland was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week, the conference announced September 9. This is Sunderland’s first weekly honor of the season and second of her career. She was named Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week in 2016.
Sunderland, a native of Ipswich, England, recorded her second career hat trick in Iowa’s 11-0 victory over Central Michigan. She scored in the 27th, 51st, and the 55th minute, recording the Hawkeyes’ first hat trick of the season.
On Sunday September 8th, Sunderland was key in keeping the ball moving downfield quickly, allowing opportunities for her teammates to score in their 3-1 victory over Columbia.
ROSTER AT A GLANCE
• The Hawkeyes return 18 letterwinners from last season.
• 10 of Iowa’s 18 letterwinners saw action in all 21 contests during the 2018 season.
• Iowa welcomes four freshman, including Amy Gaiero, Sofie Stribos, Esme Gibson, and Ellie Flynn.
The Hawkeyes host another home weekend against Rudgers on Friday, October 4 and UC Davis on Sunday, October 6. Admission is free.