The No. 1 ranked and top-seeded University of Iowa field hockey team opens postseason play Friday, squaring off against No. 2 Michigan the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament at the Bauer Track/Field Hockey Complex in Piscataway, New Jersey. The semifinal contest will begin at 1 p.m. (CT) and be televised live on BTN.
• 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 (play-by-play) and Kara Lentz (color) on the call.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
• Head coach Lisa Cellucci 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 267 Iowa victories and in 2020, she led the program to the Final Four for the 12th time — the first since 2008. Iowa has posted double digit win totals in six of her eight seasons and the Hawkeyes have won three Big Ten titles (2019, 2019 (BTT), 2021) under her watch.
• Cellucci earned her third straight Big Ten Coach of the Year honor in 2021. She is the first coach in Big Ten history to be named Coach of the Year in three consecutive seasons.
• Iowa is the outright Big Ten Conference regular season champion for the first time in 22 years (1999). The Hawkeyes claimed a share of the regular season title for a second time in three seasons with its 3-0 victory over No. 19 Ohio State on Oct. 17. Every player on the Iowa roster is now a Big Ten champion. It is the 16th title in school history.
• Senior Anthe Nijziel was named the Big Ten Co-Player of the Year and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for a second consecutive season in 2021. She is the third player in Big Ten history (all Hawkeyes) to earn both multiple Player of the Year honors.
• Five Hawkeyes — Nijziel, Maddy Murphy, Esme Gibson, Lokke Stribos and Grace McGuire — earned All-Big Ten recognition. Nijziel (unanimous) and Murphy were first team selections; it is Murphy’s fifth career all-conference accolade.
• The Hawkeyes are ranked No. 1 in the Penn Monto/NFHCA National Division I rankings for a sixth consecutive week. Iowa received 36 first-place votes and has 969 total points.
• Iowa has used the same starting lineup in all 17 games this season.
• The Hawkeyes earned their program record seventh and eighth Big Ten weekly honors on Oct. 18 when senior Maddy Murphy earned Offensive Player of the Week and senior Anthe Nijziel was the Defensive Player of the Week. It was the third honor for both this season. Nijziel also was named the NFHCA National Defensive Player of the Week for a second time on Oct. 20.
• Iowa started the season with 16 consecutive victories — the second longest winning streak in school history. It was the program’s longest streak since winning 20 straight games to start the 1992 season before falling in the NCAA finals.
• Iowa won five consecutive games against top-seven ranked opponents from Sept. 19-Oct. 3. The team is 9-1 against nationally-ranked foes, including seven wins against top-seven ranked opponents.
• 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 11 shutouts this season — the most since 1993 when the team had a school-record 16.
• The Hawkeyes are leading the nation in shutouts (11) and scoring margin (3.01), while ranking second in goals against average (0.52), third in assists per game (2.88), goals per game (3.59), points per game (10.06) and scoring average (3.53) and sixth in save percentage (.816).
• The Hawkeyes returned all 11 starters and a total of 21 letterwinners, including every player from last season’s Final Four team.
B1G TOURNAMENT HISTORY
• The Hawkeyes are 35-22 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament, winning six titles in program history (1981, 1994, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2019). Iowa has advanced to the championship game 11 times.
• Iowa is the No. 1 seed for the first time since 1999. The program hasn’t won a league title as a No. 1 seed.
• Iowa is 5-7 all-time against Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament, including 1-2 in the semifinals. The Wolverines defeated Iowa, 2-0, in the semis last season in Iowa City.
No. 1 vs. No. 2 – TAKE 2
The Hawkeyes and Wolverines will meet for the second time in three weeks as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country. Iowa won the first meeting, 2-1, in a shootout with sophomore Sofie Stribos scoring the game-winner.
BIG TEN CHAMPS
The Hawkeyes are outright Big Ten regular season champions for the first time since 1999. It is the program’s second regular season title in three years and the 16th in program history.
CELLUCCI CLOSES IN ON 100
Head coach Lisa Cellucci — the three-time reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year — is approaching a milestone victory in her Hawkeye coaching career. The eighth-year head coach has 98 victories as Iowa’s head coach. She will be the fourth Hawkeye head coach to reach the 100 win milestone.
POY & DPOY
Senior Anthe Nijziel is the third player in Big Ten history and third Hawkeye all-time to earn the Big Ten Player of the Year honor more than once, joining Liz Tchou (1986, 1987) and Kristy Gleason (1992, 1993).
• Nijziel is the second Hawkeye and eighth Big Ten student-athlete to earn multiple Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors.
ALL-BIG TEN SELECTIONS
The Hawkeyes had five All-Big Ten selection — the most for the program since 2012 when assistant coach Jess Barnett was one of five Hawkeye honorees.
• Seniors Anthe Nijziel (unanimous) and Maddy Murphy were first-team selections, while seniors Grace McGuire and Lokke Stribos and junior Esme Gibson were second-team honorees. It was Nijziel’s third career honor (second straight first team) and Murphy’s fifth career accolade.
YOUR NO. 1 IOWA HAWKEYES
Iowa is ranked No. 1 in the Penn Monto/NFHCA National Division I rankings for a sixth consecutive week. The team made its 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 an NCAA-best 11 shutouts this season — the most for the program since 1993 when it had a record 16 shutouts. Iowa has 11 shutouts in 17 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 nine goals in 17 games (1,040 minutes) this season.
• The Hawkeyes have allowed 90 shots (49 shots on goal) in 17 games and have surrendered just nine goals on the season. Iowa has allowed four or fewer shots on goal in 13 of the last 15 games.
I SCORE, YOU SCORE, WE ALL SCORE
The Hawkeyes have scored 61 goals in 17 games 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 61 goals are third-best in the nation (behind Liberty and Northwestern). The Hawkeyes have scored three or more goals in 11 of their 17 games. Nine different players have scored game-winning goals.
• Eleven Hawkeyes have scored at least two goals this season. Senior Ellie Holley and reserve forward Ciara Smith lead the team with eight goals apiece, while seniors Lokke Stribos and Maddy Murphy have seven goals. Both Holley and Smith’s goal totals are career highs.
• Senior Nikki Freeman has scored two game-winning goals — at No. 6 Rutgers, vs. No. 19 Ohio State. She has an efficient five goals on six 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 21 goals — 34.4 percent of its goals — off penalty corners during the 2021 season.
PLAYING FROM AHEAD
• The Hawkeyes trailed just once in the first 16 games this season. Iowa has trailed for 78:36 minutes of game time this season.
• Iowa has played with the lead for 638:55 minutes and with the game tied for 324:39 minutes.
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, either leading or tied for the team lead in goals (8), game-winning goals (4) and points (25). She has posted career highs in goals, game-winning goals and points and is second on the team in assists (9).
• The United Kingdom native has registered at least one point in 10 of Iowa’s 17 games.
• She has two multi-goal games this season, giving her three multi-goal games for her career.
Iowa has allowed one goal in the first quarter this season, while scoring 13 times. The Hawkeyes have outscored their opponents 32-3 in the first half.
Two Hawkeye freshmen — Lieve Schalk and Annika Herbine — have been key contributors. Schalk has started all 17 games as a midfielder, where she has four assists. Herbine has two goals and three assists as a reserve forward.
Iowa has 49 assists on its 61 goals during the 2021 season. The Hawkeyes’ 49 assists are third nationally and second in the Big Ten.
• Senior Maddy Murphy is tied for 11th nationally with 10 assists and senior Ellie Holley is tied for 16th with nine 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 39 saves in 17 games with an NCAA-best 11 shutouts. She had a program-record eight consecutive shutouts from Sept. 4-26.
• McGuire is 16-1 with a 0.52 goals against average and a 0.816 save percentage. She leads the Big Ten in goals against average and save percentage, while ranking second and sixth in both categories nationally.
• In the 2-1 win over No. 2 Michigan, McGuire made four saves in the double overtime victory. She stopped four of the five Wolverine shots during the game-deciding shootout.
• 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 three times this season, earning the honor Aug. 30, Oct. 4, and Oct. 18. She was 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’s third honor came after tallying four points in victories over No. 2 Michigan and No. 19 Ohio State. She assisted on the game-tying goal against Michigan and scored a goal and had an assist in the win over Ohio State — a victory that gave Iowa a share of the Big Ten regular season title.
• 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 earned a third distinction on Oct. 18. Nijziel was tabbed as the NFHCA National Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 29 and Oct. 20.
• 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.
• Nijziel earned her third Big Ten and second NFHCA honor after recording five points via two goals and an assist and anchoring an Iowa defense that allowed one goal over 140 minutes in wins over No. 2 Michigan and No. 19 Ohio State. She scored the game-tying goal against the Wolverines and had a goal and an assist in the win over Ohio State, while limiting the Buckeyes to two shots in Iowa’s 11th shutout.
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. This group has also won two Big Ten regular season titles.
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 66 games.
• Seniors Anthe Nijziel and Lokke Stribos have started all 78 games of their Hawkeye careers. Fifth-year Maddy Murphy has started 95 career games, missing only one possible game (in 2020) in her Hawkeye career. Seniors Nikki Freeman (84 starts) and Ellie Holley (79 starts) have started 75+ games in their Hawkeye careers.
Maddy Murphy – 95 games (*missed one game in 2020)
Anthe Nijziel – 78
Lokke Stribos – 78
Ellie Holley – 65
Nikki Freeman – 41
Leah Zellner – 40
Sofie Stribos – 37
Harper Dunne – 35
Grace McGuire – 35
Esme Gibson – 34 (55 career starts; did not start one game in 2020)
Leive Schalk – 17
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 51 career goals and 15 career game-winning goals. Her 51 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 NCAA Selection Show will take place Sunday at 9 p.m. (CT).