The top-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team returns to Iowa City to host a pair of Big Ten Conference games against nationally ranked opponents this weekend at Grant Field. The Hawkeyes welcome No. 2 Michigan to town for a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown on Friday at 2 p.m. (CT) before squaring off against No. 19 Ohio State on Sunday at noon.
• Iowa field hockey fans can follow all contests via live stats on hawkeyesports.com. Game updates are also available on Twitter/@iowafieldhockey.
• Friday’s game will be televised on BTN with Dean Linke and Kara Lentz on the call. Sunday’s game will be streamed live on BTN+ — a paid subscription service.
• Friday’s game will be a “Black Out” at Grant Field. There will be free black t-shirts and rally towels handed out.
• Sunday is the annual “Pink Game.” There will be free pink pom poms and a poster making station.
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 265 Iowa victories and in 2020, she led the program to the Final Four for the 12th time — the first since 2008 — in its history. Iowa has posted double digit win totals in six of her eight seasons.
• The Hawkeyes are ranked No. 1 in the Penn Monto/NFHCA National Division I rankings for a third straight week. Iowa received 32 (of the 42) first-place votes and has 1,039 total points.
• Iowa, who has used the same starting lineup in all 14 games, has not trailed during the 2021 season.
• The Hawkeyes earned their sixth Big Ten weekly honor on Oct. 12 when junior Esme Gibson was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. The six honorees are the most for the program since 2016.
• Iowa is 14-0 to start the season for the first time since 1999. The 14 consecutive wins is the longest winning streak since 1999. The 1992 team won its first 20 games of the season.
• The Hawkeyes won five consecutive games against top-seven ranked opponents from Sept. 19-Oct. 3. The team has seven victories over nationally-ranked foes this season with No. 2 Michigan and No. 19 Ohio State set to come to Iowa City this weekend.
• Iowa finished the regular season with a 7-0 road record this season with victories at No. 5 Louisville, No. 6 Rutgers and No. 7 Maryland. The seven road wins are the most since 1999.
• The Hawkeyes posted a program-record eight consecutive shutouts from Sept. 4-26. Iowa has 10 shutouts this season — the most since 1993 when the team had a school-record 16.
• Iowa is one of two teams nationally that is still undefeated (Michigan, 11-0). The Wolverines (1) and Hawkeyes (2) also have the nation’s top two RPIs.
• The Hawkeyes are leading the nation in shutouts (10), scoring margin (3.59) and goals against average (0.43), while ranking second in points per game (10.93), third in goals per game (4.00) and scoring average (4.02), fourth in save percentage (.833) and fifth in assists per game (2.93).
• 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.
YOUR NO. 1 IOWA HAWKEYES
Iowa is ranked No. 1 in the Penn Monto/NFHCA National Division I rankings for a third consecutive week. The Hawkeyes made their debut at No. 1 on Sept. 28, marking the first time in program history the team has been atop the NFHCA poll. (The NFHCA was established in 1997.) It is believed Iowa’s last No. 1 ranking came after winning the 1986 National Championship when it finished atop the College Field Hockey Coaches Association poll.
HOW ‘BOUT THE D?
Iowa’s defense posted a program record eight consecutive shutouts from Sept. 4-26. During the stretch, the Hawkeyes surrendered just 12 shots on goal in the eight games.
• The Hawkeyes have 10 shutouts this season — the most for the program since 1993 when it had a record 16 shutouts. Iowa has 10 shutouts in 14 games.
• Iowa’s defense didn’t allow a goal from the second quarter of the Aug. 29 game against No. 1 North Carolina until the fourth quarter of the Oct. 1 contest at No. 6 Rutgers. The defense went 561:03 minutes without surrendering a goal and it has allowed just six goals in 14 games (840 minutes) this season.
• The Hawkeyes have allowed 71 shots (36 shots on goal) in 14 games and have surrendered just six goals on the season. Iowa has allowed four or fewer shots on goal in 12 consecutive games.
• Iowa allowed one shot (not on goal) last weekend in road wins at Michigan State and Central Michigan.
I SCORE, YOU SCORE, WE ALL SCORE
The Hawkeyes have scored 56 goals in the first 14 games of the 2021 season with 15 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 56 goals are leading the nation. The Hawkeyes have scored three or more goals in 10 of their 14 games. Eight different players have scored game-winning goals.
• Eleven Hawkeyes have scored at least two goals this season. Senior Ellie Holley leads the way with eight goals, while seniors Ciara Smith and Lokke Stribos have seven goals apiece. Both Holley and Smith’s goal totals are career highs.
• Senior Nikki Freeman scored the game-winning goal — her first of the season — in the road win at No. 6 Rutgers. She has an efficient four goals on five shots this season.
• Four Hawkeyes have tallied multi-goal games this season — Holley (2), Sofie Stribos (1) and Esme Gibson (1).
The Hawkeyes have scored 18 goals — 32 percent of its goals — off penalty corners during the 2021 season.
The Hawkeyes finished the regular season with a 7-0 record away from Iowa City this fall with victories at No. 5 Louisville, No. 6 Rutgers and No. 7 Maryland. The seven road wins are the most since 1999.
• The victory in College Park was the first for the program in school history, while the win over Rutgers snapped a 10-game Scarlet Knight home winning streak that dated back to the 2019 season.
• 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.
IT’S A HOLLEY GOOD TIME
Senior Ellie Holley is enjoying a breakout 2021 season, leading the Hawkeyes in goals (8), game-winning goals (4), assists (8) and points (24). She has posted career highs in goals, game-winning goals and points.
• The United Kingdom native has registered at least one point in nine of Iowa’s 14 games.
• She has two multi-goal games this season, giving her three multi-goal games for her career.
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.
Iowa hasn’t allowed a goal in the first quarter this season, while scoring 13 times. The Hawkeyes have outscored their opponents 32-2 in the first half.
Two Hawkeye freshmen — Lieve Schalk and Annika Herbine — have been key contributors during Iowa’s 10-0 start. Schalk has started all 14 games as a midfielder, where she has three assists. Herbine has two goals and two assists as a reserve forward.
Iowa has 41 assists on its 56 goals in the first seven weeks of the 2021 season. The Hawkeyes’ 36 assists are third nationally and second in the Big Ten.
• Senior Ellie Holley is tied for eighth in the country with eight assists.
• Fourteen 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 30 saves in 14 games with 10 shutouts. She had a program-record eight consecutive shutouts from Sept. 4-26.
• McGuire, who has an NCAA-best 10 shutouts, is 14-0 with a 0.43 goals against average and a 0.833 save percentage. She leads the Big Ten and ranks second nationally in goal against average and third in save percentages.
• McGuire didn’t allow a goal in 561:03 minutes from the second quarter against No. 1 North Carolina on Aug. 29 to the fourth quarter of the Oct. 1 game at No. 6 Rutgers.
Senior Maddy Murphy was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on Aug. 30 and Oct. 4 and the NFHCA National Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 1 and Oct. 6.
• Murphy earned her first honor for her play in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, where she scored two goals and had two assists in leading the Hawkeyes to victories over No. 11 Wake Forest and No. 1 North Carolina.
• She earned her second honor of the season after scoring two goals and tallying an assist in road wins at No. 6 Rutgers and No. 7 Maryland. She scored the game-winner in the win in College Park.
• Murphy has three career Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors and two NFHCA national honors.
Senior Anthe Nijziel was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week in consecutive weeks on Sept. 20 and Sept. 28 and she was tabbed as the NFHCA National Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 29.
• Nijziel earned her first nod 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.
• She earned her second honor after tallying four points (1 goal, 2 assists) in Iowa’s two-game sweep of No. 6 Penn State. Iowa’s defense limited the Nittany Lions to four shots on goal in the two consecutive shutouts.
LOKKE & ESME HONORED
• Senior Lokke Stribos was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 4 after leading the Hawkeyes to a pair of road wins at No. 6 Rutgers and No. 7 Maryland. Iowa allowed two goals and just eight shots on goal in the two contests. It was Stribos’ first career honor.
• Junior Esme Gibson became the sixth Hawkeye to earn Big Ten weekly honors on Oct. 12 when she was tabbed as the Offensive Player of the Week. Gibson scored three goals in road wins over Michigan State and Central Michigan. She scored twice against the Spartans, including the game-winner.
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 64 games.
• Seniors Anthe Nijziel and Lokke Stribos have started all 75 games of their Hawkeye careers. Fifth-year Maddy Murphy has started 92 career games, missing only one possible game (in 2020) in her Hawkeye career. Seniors Nikki Freeman (81 starts) and Ellie Holley (76 starts) have started 75+ games in their Hawkeye careers.
Maddy Murphy – 92 games (*missed one game in 2020)
Anthe Nijziel – 75
Lokke Stribos – 75
Ellie Holley – 62
Nikki Freeman – 38
Leah Zellner – 37
Sofie Stribos – 34
Harper Dunne – 32
Grace McGuire – 32
Esme Gibson – 31 (53 career starts; did not start one game in 2020)
Leive Schalk – 14
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 50 career goals and 15 career game-winning goals. Her 50 goals currently rank 10th all-time in school history.
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.
• The second-ranked Wolverines bring an 11-0 record into Iowa City Wolverins are undefeated so far this season with seven victories over ranked opponents. Michigan is one of two unbeatens in NCAA Division I field hockey.
• Senior Sofia Southam leads the Big Ten and ranks second nationally with 15 goals on 39 shots in nine games. Southam has 32 points and four game-winning goals. Goalkeeper Anna Spieker has allowed nine goals and has a 0.88 goals against average, while making 31 saves and posting two shutouts.
SCOUTING OHIO STATE
• The Buckeyes have lost four of their last five games, bringing their record to 7-5 overall, 1-2 in Big Ten play. Ohio State downed Ohio, 4-3, in its last game Oct. 10 and it will play at Northwestern on Friday.
• Junior Leanne Bough leads the Buckeyes with five goals and 10 points. She is one of seven players with two or more goals.
• The Hawkeyes are 43-28 all-time against Michigan and 52-14 all-time against Ohio State.
• The Wolverines have won eight of the last 11 meetings in the series. Michigan went 2-1 against the Hawkeyes last season.
• Iowa has won six straight games over Ohio State, including a pair of 2-1 victories last season.
The Hawkeyes will host Northwestern on Oct. 29 in their regular season finale. Iowa will honor its 11 seniors prior to the contest.