The second-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team will host No. 6 Penn State for a two-game series this weekend at Grant Field. The first match-up will take place Friday at 6 p.m. (CT) followed by a Sunday afternoon contest beginning at noon. (Friday’s game will count toward the Big Ten standings, while Sunday’s contest will be a nonconference game.)
• Iowa field hockey fans can follow all contests via live stats on hawkeyesports.com.
• Both Friday and Sunday’s games will be streamed live on BTN+ — a paid subscription service.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
• Head coach Lisa Cellucci — the 2020 Big Ten Co-Coach of the Year — is in her eighth season at the helm of the Hawkeye field hockey program and her 22nd season overall. Cellucci has been a part of 259 Iowa victories and in 2020, she led the program to the Final Four for the 12th time — the first since 2008 — in its history.
• The Hawkeyes are ranked second in the latest Penn Monto/NFHCA National Division I rankings. Iowa received 15 first-place votes (up from 11 last week) and has 1,135 total points, 30 behind first-place Michigan.
• Iowa is 8-0 to start the season for the first time since 1999 — a season when it won its first 10 games. The Hawkeyes went 2-0 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge for the first time in program history before posting six consecutive shutouts in wins over New Hampshire, at Boston, Ohio, Saint Louis, at Indiana and at No. 5 Louisville.
• Iowa has three wins over top-11 ranked foes — No. 1 North Carolina, No. 5 Louisville and No. 11 Wake Forest. The win at Louisville was the first road win over a top-five ranked opponent since 2007 — a 2-0 win at No. 4 Duke.
• The Hawkeyes’ eight-game winning streak is the longest since 2008. The last time Iowa won nine straight was in 1999 (10 consecutive wins).
• Iowa is one of four teams nationally that is still undefeated (Columbia, Michigan, Penn State). The Hawkeyes rank second in the country in goals per game (4.75), points per game (13.00), scoring average (4.79), scoring margin (4.29) and shutouts per game (0.75) and are third in goals against average (0.50), fifth in assists per game (3.50) and save percentage (.833).
• The Hawkeyes return all 11 starters and a total of 21 letterwinners, including every player from last season’s Final Four team.
• Iowa returns three All-Americans — Anthe Nijziel, Maddy Murphy and Ellie Holley — and a total of five players that earned NFHCA All-Region distinction.
• Nijziel is the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
HOW ‘BOUT THE D?
Iowa’s defense has posted six consecutive shutouts for the fourth time in program history, joining the 1978, 1986 and 1993 squads for the most consecutive shutouts. (The 1986 team won a national championship).
• During the stretch, the Hawkeyes have surrendered just 16 shots in the six games (2.7 per game) and the team didn’t allow a shot on goal in wins over Ohio and Saint Louis. Iowa allowed just four shots in the Big Ten opener against Indiana and five at No. 5 Louisville.
• Iowa’s defense hasn’t allowed a goal since Aug. 29 against No. 1 North Carolina. The defense has gone 395:20 minutes without surrendering a goal.
The Hawkeyes scored 18 goals in wins over Ohio and Saint Louis on Sept. 10 and Sept. 12. They are the most in a two game stretch since 1997 when it scored 11 in a victory over Pacific and seven in a win over Kent State. Thirteen different Hawkeyes scored in the two games.
I SCORE, YOU SCORE, WE ALL SCORE
The Hawkeyes have scored 38 goals in the first eight games of the 2021 season with 13 different players finding the back of the cage. Sixteen different Hawkeyes have tallied at least one point. In contrast, Iowa had eight total players score during the 2020 season.
• Iowa’s 38 goals are second in the country and in the Big Ten. Northwestern leads the nation with 41 goals.
• The Hawkeyes have scored three or more goals in seven of their first eight games.
• Ten Hawkeyes have scored at least two goals this season with seniors Ellie Holley and Ciara Smith leading the way with six goals apiece. Both Holley and Smith’s goal totals are career bests and they are tied for fifth in the Big Ten.
• Three of Holley’s goals have been game-winners, which is a career-high.
• Iowa had three or more different players score in the first six games to open the 2021 season.
Iowa hasn’t allowed a goal in the first quarter this season, while scoring 10 times. The Hawkeyes have outscored their opponents 22-2 in the first half.
Iowa has 28 assists on its 38 goals in the first four weeks of the 2021 season, which are second nationally (and second in the Big Ten). Senior Ellie Holley is tied for the national lead with seven assists.
• By virtue of her six goals and seven assists, Holley is second in the Big Ten and fourth nationally with 19 points.
• Thirteen different Hawkeyes have been credited with an assist in 2021.
Senior Grace McGuire made a career-high nine saves in Iowa’s 3-1 victory over No. 1 North Carolina on Aug. 29. The St. Louis, Missouri, native has 20 saves in eight games.
• McGuire, who has Big Ten-best six shutouts, is 8-0 with a 0.50 goals against average to lead the league. Her goals against average leads the conference and ranks fourth nationally.
• McGuire hasn’t allowed a goal in her last 395:20 minutes in goal since a second-quarter goal by No. 1 North Carolina on Aug. 29.
Senior Anthe Nijziel earned her second career Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week nod on Sept. 20 after anchoring a Hawkeye defense that posted back-to-back road shutouts at Indiana and at No. 5 Louisville. Iowa limited the two opponents to nine combined shots in the two games.
Senior Maddy Murphy was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on Aug. 30 and the NFHCA Division I National Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 1 for her play in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Tasmania native scored two goals and had two assists in leading the Hawkeyes to victories over No. 11 Wake Forest and No. 1 North Carolina.
• It is Murphy’s first career national honor and her second Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honor.
Iowa opened the 2021 season with a two victories in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, downing No. 11 Wake Forest (5-3) and No. 1 North Carolina (3-1).
• It was the first time school history that Iowa has gone 2-0 in the Challenge.
• The win over North Carolina was the first for the program since 2008. That was the last time the Hawkeyes defeated the No. 1 ranked team in the nation.
SUPER SENIOR FINALE
The Hawkeyes welcome back Maddy Murphy, Emily Deuell, Ellie Holley and Nikki Freeman for an encore as the quartet will take advantage of the NCAA’s eligibility waiver due to COVID-19. These seniors have made three NCAA appearances, including an Elite Eight and Final Four run and they advanced to consecutive Big Ten Championship finals, including winning a title in 2019.
The Hawkeyes boast an experienced team with 14 upperclassmen, including four fifth-year seniors, seven seniors and three juniors. Over the past four years, Iowa’s fifth-year seniors have won 58 games.
• Seniors Anthe Nijziel and Lokke Stribos have started all 69 games of their Hawkeye careers. Fifth-year Maddy Murphy has started 86 career games, missing only one possible game (in 2020) in her Hawkeye career. Seniors Ellie Holley (70 starts) and Nikki Freeman (75 starts) have started 70 or more games in their Hawkeye careers.
Maddy Murphy – 86 games (*missed one game in 2020)
Anthe Nijziel – 69
Lokke Stribos – 69
Ellie Holley – 56
Nikki Freeman – 32
Leah Zellner – 31
Sofie Stribos – 28
Harper Dunne – 26
Grace McGuire – 26
THE B1G’S BEST RETURNS
Senior Anthe Nijziel was the class of the Big Ten in 2021, earning Big Ten Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors. She was the first Hawkeye to earn both distinctions in the same season.
Senior Maddy Murphy earned her third All-America distinction in 2021, making her the eighth Hawkeye all-time to earn three or more All-America honors. The forward led the team with 18 points a season ago off eight goals and two assists.
• Murphy has scored double digit goals in three of her first four seasons, including a career-high 13 goals in 2018. The Tasmania native has 13 career game-winning goals.
A STORIED HISTORY
• The Hawkeyes have made 25 NCAA Tournament appearances in program history — the most of any school as a member of the Big Ten Conference.
• Iowa has made 12 NCAA Final Four appearances, including winning the 1986 NCAA Championship.
• The program’s 27 NCAA Tournament victories and 12 NCAA Final Fours are the most of any school as a member of the Big Ten Conference.
SCOUTING PENN STATE
• Penn State is undefeated, winning six straight games to start the 2021 season. The Nittany Lions opened Big Ten play with a 3-2 road win at No. 7 Maryland on Sept. 18.
• The Nittany Lions are led by senior Anna Simon and sophomore Sophia Gladieux, who both have a team-high sevne goals, two assists, and 16 points. Penn State averages 3.67 goals and 13.7 shots per game.
• Junior goalkeeper Brie Baracco is 6-0 with a 1.50 goals against average with 32 saves in six games. She has posted one shutout on the season.
• Iowa leads the all-time series over Penn State, 31-25.
• The Hawkeyes have won the last six meetings in the series, including two 1-0, neutral site victories last season in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Iowa beat Penn State in 2019 to win the Big Ten Tournament title.
• The last loss to Penn State came in 2017 in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament.
The Hawkeyes will travel to the East Coast to take on Rutgers on Oct. 1 and Maryland on Oct. 3. The games will be live streamed on BTN+.