IOWA CITY, Iowa – University of Iowa field hockey senior Anthe Nijziel was named both the Big Ten Co-Player of the Year and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and head coach Lisa Cellucci was tabbed as the unanimous Big Ten Coach of the Year, it was announced Wednesday by the league office.
The Hawkeyes had a total of five players earn All-Big Ten recognition – the most for the program since 2012. Senior Maddy Murphy and Nijziel (unanimous) were first-team selections, while seniors Grace McGuire and Lokke Stribos and junior Esme Gibson were named to the second team. Senior Nikki Freeman was the team’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award recipient.
Nijziel earned the Big Ten Player and Defensive Player of the Year honors for a second straight season. She is the only Hawkeye to earn both accolades in the same season.
The Eindhoven, Netherlands, native is the third player in Big Ten history and third Hawkeye (Liz Tchou (1986, 1987); Kristy Gleason (1992, 1993) to garner Player of the Year honors twice and she is the second Hawkeye (and eighth Big Ten student-athlete) to receive Defensive Player of the Year honors more than once (Heather Schnepf (2005, 2006).
Cellucci earned her third consecutive Big Ten Coach of the Year honor after leading the Hawkeyes to a 7-1 Big Ten record and to the program’s first outright league title since 1999. The eighth-year head coach is the first coach in Big Ten history to earn Coach of the Year honors in three consecutive seasons.
Cellucci guided the Hawkeyes to 16 consecutive victories to open the season and the team ascended to No. 1 in the NFHCA rankings for the first time in program history. The team posted nine victories against nationally ranked foes during the regular season, including seven over top seven ranked foes.
Along with her Player of the Year recognition, Nijziel earned unanimous first-team All-Big Ten honors after anchoring the nation’s best defense. It is her second straight first-team and third All-Big Ten honor of her career. Iowa posted an NCAA-best 11 shutouts during the regular season, which included a school record eight consecutive shutouts during the month of September. Nijziel, a three-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and two-time NFHCA National Defensive Player of the Week honoree, was also a key part of Iowa’s penalty corner unit, scoring seven goals, including one game-winner, and tallying two assists.
Murphy earned her fifth All-Big Ten recognition, including her third first-team honor, after scoring seven goals (three game-winners) and tallying 10 assists during the regular season. The Tasmania native is the first player in school history to earn five All-Big Ten honors. Murphy earned three Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week and two NFHCA National Offensive Player of the Week honors during the regular season.
McGuire earned her first career All-Big Ten honor after posting an NCAA-best 11 shutouts in 17 games. The St. Louis, Missouri, native leads the Big Ten in goals against average (0.52) and save percentage (.812) and ranks second and sixth nationally in both categories. McGuire, who had a school record eight consecutive shutouts during the month of September, allowed just nine goals in 1,035 minutes and she made 39 saves.
Stribos earned her first All-Big Ten recognition after scoring seven goals and tallying two assists in 17 games. The Belgium native was also a key member of the Hawkeye defensive unit that allowed just 90 shots on goal (5.3 per game) over 17 contests. Stribos earned one of the team’s school-record eight Big Ten weekly honors on Oct. 4.
Gibson earned her first career All-Big Ten accolade after scoring six goals and tallying two assists as a Hawkeye midfielder. The Worcestershire, England, native scored a pair of game-winning goals and she was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 12.
Freeman was the team’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree for a second straight season. The Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, native scored five goals (on six shots), including two game-winners, and has six assists during the regular season.
The top-seeded Hawkeyes earned a quarterfinal bye in the 2021 Big Ten Tournament. Iowa will square off against the winner of No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 Northwestern at 1 p.m. (CT) Friday in Piscataway, New Jersey. The game will be televised on BTN.