PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The top-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team battled No. 2 Michigan down to the wire but fell 3-2 to the Wolverines in the semifinals of Big Ten Tournament Friday afternoon at Bauer Track/Field Hockey Complex.
Michigan’s Lora Clarke scored five minutes into the game to put the Wolverines on the board early, but three minutes later, Iowa answered. Senior Leah Zellner scored off a deflection off a shot by senior Maddy Murphy, tying the game at one.
Before the end of the quarter, Michigan’s Sofia Southam notched another goal off the first penalty corner of the day to put the Wolverines up 2-1.
“I felt like we were a little frantic, tried to play faster and we played it right into their hands,” said Iowa head coach Lisa Cellucci. “It wasn’t until the third quarter when we were able to play on our own and expose Michigan.”
Coming out of half, in the 37th minute, senior Nikki Freeman forced a turnover deep on Iowa’s side of the field, took it to the cage and put her shot away past Michigan goalkeeper Anna Spieker to even the score, 2-2.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Southam notched her second goal of the game – the game-winner. The Big Ten Player of the Year found herself in a 1-v-1 and she found the back of the cage before colliding with Iowa goalkeeper Grace McGuire to put the Wolverines up 3-2.
Iowa kept battling, notching three penalty corners in the fourth, but the Wolverines staved off the Hawkeye attempts to advance to Sunday’s final.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH LISA CELLUCCI
“It’s disappointing because we showed up, pregame was good, warm up was great, and then we started slow. That was shocking to be quite honest, and unfortunate because you can’t start slow against a team like Michigan.”
- Zellner’s goal was her fifth of the season, and Freeman’s was her sixth goal in seven shots.
- Iowa’s defense surrendered three goals. The three goals tied a season high the team surrendered this season (vs. Wake Forest, 8/27).
The Hawkeyes will learn their postseason seed for the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night. The NCAA Selection Show is set for 9 p.m. (CT).