Field Hockey Notebook: Final Four Notes

The No. 4 University of Iowa field hockey team (12-5, 5-3) will face No. 1 North Carolina (17-1, 9-1) in the Final Four matchup of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, May 7 at noon (CT) at Karen Shelton Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


  • 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 feed. Fans can also follow @IowaFieldHockey on Twitter for live in-game updates.
  • The game will air live on ESPN3. Fans can watch it with their TV provider or by downloading the ESPN app on their portable device and signing in with a subscription or TV credentials.


  • No. 4 Iowa is 12-5 overall and ended conference play 5-3 — its only losses were against Michigan, No. 12 Maryland and No. 8 Northwestern.
  • Iowa downed Northwestern, 3-1, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to advance to the program’s twelfth Final Four.
  • Iowa defeated No. 12 Maryland, 3-0, in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament in Iowa City, advancing to the semifinals where the fell to No. 2 Michigan, 2-0.
  • Of the Hawkeyes 11 wins, eight have been shutouts.
  • Iowa’s defense has only allowed 11 goals, 39 shots on goal, and 80 overall shots on the season. Iowa’s offense has posted 27 goals, 108 shots on goal, and 200 total shots on the season.
  • Senior Maddy Murphy leads the Hawkeyes with 15 points on the season off eight goals. Senior Ellie Holly follows with 12 points off three goals and six assists.
  • Senior goalkeeper Grace McGuire has posted 29 saves on the season and allowed only eleven total goals this season from opponents.


  • The reigning NCAA Champions North Carolina are 17-1 overall, ending conference play 9-1 , losing to Louisville early in the season. The ACC conference played their traditional fall season in 2020, while playing additional games in the spring of 2021 leading up to the NCAA Tournament.
  • As a team, the Tarheels are averaging 3.22 goals off 15.9 shots per game. Defensively, they tallied 87 saves so far this season led by senior Amanda Hendry. Offensively, UNC is led by junior forward Erin Matson with 26 goals, 60 points and eight assists.
  • Matson earned ACC Player of the Year honors for the third year in a row. Senior midfielder Eva Smolenaars earned First Team All-ACC, Henry earned second team along with junior forward Meredith Sholder.
  • Head coach Karen Shelton, is in her 40th season at North Carolina. Shelton earned ACC coach of the Year for the eleventh time in her career. In 12 of the last 13 seasons she’s led the Tarheels to the NCAA Final Four, claiming the national championship in consecutive seasons — 2018 and 2019.


  • UNC leads the series, 30-3, with majority of its matchups against Iowa being in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
  • The two teams met in 2019 in the NCAA Elite Eight. North Carolina won, 2-1, before going on to win the title.
  • The Hawkeyes last beat the Tarheels, 3-2, in 2008. The Hawkeyes also made it to the Final Four in Louisville, Kentucky, that year before falling to Maryland, 2-1, in double overtime.


  • Junior Anthe Nijziel was named Big Ten Player of the Year and Big Ten Defenseive Player of the Year, First Team All-Big Ten the conference announced April 19.
  • These honors are the first of Nijziel’s career and the first Hawkeye to earn both awards in program history.
  • In matchups against Rutgers (March 5) and Penn State (March 7), Nijziel played the full 120 minutes, keeping the Scarlet Knights shotless and only allowing one shot on goal from the Nittany Lions. The Hawkeyes are undefeated this season, recording four 1-0 shutouts over Indiana, Rutgers and Penn State, twice.
  • The Eindhoven, Netherlands, native scored the Hawkeyes’ lone goal in the win over Penn State off a penalty corner and assist from junior Leah Zellner.
  • Head coach Lisa Cellucci was named Big Ten Co-Coach of the Year, earning her second consecutive Coach of the Year honor. She shared the award with Rutgers’ Meredith Civico.
  • Junior Lokke Stribos and sophomore Esme Gibson were named to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team. Gibson’s honor is the first of her career, while Stribos was named to the all-tournament team after 2018 Big Ten Tournament.


  • This year marks the 25th time in program history the Hawkeyes have been selected to the NCAA Tournament — the most of any school as a member of the Big Ten Conference.
  • The Hawkeyes are 27-24 all-time in tournament play, including 9-6 in first round match-ups and 12-6 in second round contests.
  • Iowa has advanced to 12 NCAA Final Fours, winning the 1986 national championship.
  • The Hawkeyes’ 27 NCAA tournament victories and 12 NCAA Final Four appearances are the most of any school as a member of the Big Ten Conference.
  • In 2019, Iowa faced UNC in the second round of the NCAA tournament, falling 1-2. North Carolina would go on to beat Princeton and win the championship.


  • Maddy Murphy, Ante Nijziel and Lokke Stribos earned preseason All-Big Ten recognition, announced by the conference on Feb. 24.
  • Murphy, a senior forward from Riana, Tasmania, earned NFHCA second team All-American recognition after starting all 22 games and recording team highs in goals (12) — tied for third most in the Big Ten, assists (10) — the fourth most in the Big Ten, and (37) points — tied for second most in the Big Ten. She recorded 55 shots to tally 37 points. This is the fourth straight year she has earned preseason honors by the Big Ten Conference.
  • Nijziel, a senior defender, started all 22 games last year and recorded six goals and 13 points on 38 shots. The Eindhoven, Netherlands, native earned NFHCA first team All-West Region honors and second team All-Big Ten honors last season.
  • Stirbos, a senior midfielder, started in all 22 games last season and earned NFHCA second team All-West Region honors. She is ranked second on the team and fifth in the conference in goals (10). She is also ranked fifth in the Big Ten in points per game (1.14). The Brussels, Belguim, native, recorded five assists and 25 points in Iowa’s 2019 season.


  • Lisa Cellucci, Michael Boal, and Roz Ellis were named NFHCA West Region Coaching Staff of the Year for the second consecutive season, the National Field Hockey Coaches Association announced Dec. 9, 2019.
  • Led by sixth-year head coach Lisa Cellucci, the Hawkeyes went 17-5 (7-1) and qualified for the NCAA Tournament, reaching the Elite Eight.
  • Cellucci was also name Big Ten Coach of the Year.
  • Boal completed his sixth season along with former Hawkeye and two-time first team All-Big Ten selection Ellis who completed her second season as an assistant coach.
  • The 2019 Hawkeyes are the first Iowa field hockey team to win the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles in the same season. The Hawkeyes were the fifth team in the conference to accomplish the feat.
  • The Hawkeye coaching staff mentored three All-Big Ten, five All-West, and the NFHCA West Region Player of the Year.