IOWA CITY, Iowa – The top-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team scored three fourth-quarter goals to down No. 19 Ohio State, 3-0, on Sunday afternoon at Grant Field. The win propelled the Hawkeyes to a share of the Big Ten Conference regular season title for the second time in three years.
It marks the 16th regular season title for the program and the team moves to 16-0 overall and 7-0 in league play this season.
“I talked to the team yesterday to give them a heads up that we would be able to clinch if we won, and half the room was Big Ten champions,” said Iowa head coach Lisa Cellucci, who has now led the Hawkeyes to three Big Ten crowns (two regular season, one tournament). “Now we can have the whole team be a champion, and they’ll be a Big Ten champion for the rest of their life.”
After having six shots and three corners in the first three quarters, Iowa put its foot on the gas in the fourth. The Hawkeyes had 12 shots and seven penalty corners over the final 15 minutes… and scored all three goals.
The Hawkeyes scored back-to-back goals off two penalty corners to take a 2-0 lead. Senior Nikki Freeman found the back of the cage off a redirect off a penalty corner to get Iowa on the board in the 51st minute with seniors Maddy Murphy and Anthe Nijziel credited with the assists.
Nijziel made it 2-0 less than two minutes later when she knocked home a penalty corner with freshmen Annika Herbine and Lieve Schalk tallying assists.
“We found a connection between each other in the fourth quarter,” said Nijziel. “We picked it up in the fourth quarter and that led to some upgrades in the circle, which helped us get back.”
Iowa put an exclamation point on the dominating fourth quarter when senior Maddy Murphy put in the team’s third goal off a Freeman assist to cap the scoring.
Iowa’s defense dominated in the game, shutting out Ohio State for its 11th shutout of the season. Senior goalkeeper Grace McGuire recorded two saves in the win and the defense surrendered just two shots in the game.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH LISA CELLUCCI
“Our penalty quarter conversion, especially in the fourth quarter, was awesome. Nikki’s goal was fantastic we practiced that a lot, and we haven’t had a chance to call that in a while. It was so great to see that finish.”
- McGuire’s two saves give her 36 this season. The shutout is her 11th this season and the 18th of her career.
- Nijziel and Freeman’s goals were their fifth of the season, and Murphy’s was her sixth.
- The win was Iowa’s ninth over a nationally ranked opponent this season.
- Iowa’s 11 shutouts are the most for the program since 1993.
The Hawkeyes will now enter a bye week before returning to action Oct. 29 for their regular season finale against Northwestern. It will be Senior Day at Grant Field.