UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A strong second quarter by the No. 7 University of Iowa field hockey team pushed the second-seeded Hawkeyes past seventh-seeded and No. 14 Northwestern, 2-1, on Thursday at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex. Iowa claims a spot in the Big Ten Tournament Title game for the second straight year and improves to 15-4 on the season.
“It feels great (to get back to the Big Ten Championship game),” head coach Lisa Cellucci said. “It’s one of our goals, and we have an opportunity to achieve another goal tomorrow. I am really proud and excited for this team to see what we do tomorrow.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
It was Northwestern who struck first in the Big Ten semifinals, scoring in the second minute on the first penalty corner, from either side, of the game. After a tough first quarter, the Hawkeyes trailed 1-0.
In the 19th minute, sophomore Makenna Maguire scored her second goal of the season on an assist from Maddy Murphy, who delivered the ball from the left side of the circle. Maguire was able to punch it in to tie the game.
“My teammates gave me a great pass and I finished it,” Maguire said. “We kept the momentum going. We knew it was going to come. We had great opportunities and I just happened to finish it.”
Another opportunity came roughly three minutes later on a similar play, sophomore Ciara Smith gave the Hawkeyes a 2-1 lead, scoring her second goal of the season. Sophomore Leah Zellner was credited with her first career assist.
Iowa had finally seized momentum, outshooting Northwestern six to one in the second period and 12 to three after the first period.
“We were a little out of sorts there in the first quarter,” Cellucci said. “We found a way to get an equalizer on the board. That second goal was fantastic. We worked our way and got back to playing our game in the second and third quarter.”
Iowa’s 2-1 lead at halftime held true for the rest of the game. The Hawkeyes put three shots on goal in the third quarter, but Northwestern saved all of them. Each team recorded one shot in the fourth quarter and Iowa successfully used a video referral three minutes into the fourth quarter.
Iowa’s defense stepped up as the game came to a close, too.
“We needed to get back to playing disciplined individual defense and as a unit,” Cellucci said. “We had everybody hunker down. We had been training in those situations with a pulled goalkeeper all year and they executed it beautifully.”
- The Hawkeyes also beat Northwestern, 2-1, in the regular season.
- Ciara Smith has recorded a goal and an assist in this year’s Big Ten Tournament. Sophomore Lokke Stribos leads all Hawkeyes with four points in the conference tournament.
- Eleven Hawkeyes have scored at least two goals on the season.
- The Hawkeyes bested last season’s win total with their 15th win today.
The Hawkeyes face fifth-seeded Penn State in tomorrow’s Big Ten title game at 1 p.m. (CT). The game will be televised live on BTN.