IOWA CITY, Iowa – A 57th-minute goal propelled No. 6 Northwestern to a 2-1 victory over the top-ranked University of Iowa field hockey on Friday afternoon at Grant Field. The defeat was the Hawkeyes’ first in 17 games this season.
Iowa finishes the regular season with a 16-1 overall and 7-1 Big Ten record. The Hawkeyes are the outright Big Ten regular season champions for the first time since 1999.
The Hawkeyes tallied 10 shots and seven shots on goal and forced the Wildcats to make six saves. Iowa’s defense battled it out with senior Grace McGuire recording three saves.
Northwestern grabbed the early lead, scoring in the third minute off its first penalty corner when Alia Marshall recorded her third strike of the season.
The Hawkeyes battled back, notching six penalty corners, but couldn’t find the back of the cage on any of its penalty attempts.
“They played great defense against us,” said Iowa head coach Lisa Cellucci. “I think the plays we called were on, we just unfortunately didn’t get a deflection. We need to be able to tip in front of the goalkeeper and we couldn’t get that touch on the ball. That’s the name of the game: they converted, and we didn’t.”
Iowa ended up scoring the equalizer in 53rd minute to even the score at one when Maddy Murphy fired a shot from outside the circle that senior Ciara Smith deflected into the cage for her eighth strike of the season.
The Wildcats capitalized on their second penalty corner of the game in the 57th minute. Iowa blocked Northwestern’s first attempt, but the ball squirted forward and Ana Medina Garcia’s found the back of the cage to put her team on top.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH LISA CELLUCCI
“We didn’t play well in the first and second quarter. We needed to be a lot stronger on our tackles and be able to ride the tackle and move the ball and we didn’t until late in the third quarter when we started to get momentum.”
- Friday’s game was Iowa’s 10th matchup against a nationally ranked opponent this season.
- McGuire’s three saves give her 39 this season.
- Northwestern’s first quarter goal was the first allowed by Iowa this season. The Hawkeyes have surrendered just three first-half goals.
The Hawkeyes travel to Piscataway, New Jersey, next weekend for the Big Tournament. The Hawkeyes earned a first-round bye as the No. 1 seed.