IOWA CITY, Iowa – With one minute remaining, No. 7 Northwestern scored the lone goal of the game to hand the third-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team a 1-0 loss and eliminate the Hawkeyes from the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
“They’re in a little bit of shock, and the fact that we couldn’t hold them off for just another minute to go into overtime, I think it is just a lot of disappointment, too,” said Iowa head coach Lisa Cellucci.
Senior goalkeeper Grace McGuire recorded five saves inside the cage to keep the Hawkeyes in the game.
Northwestern started the game on the attack, nothing three shots on goal in the first quarter, but Iowa’s defense and McGuire made three saves to keep the Wildcats at bay.
“We stood tall defensively,” Cellucci said. “We made improvement from the first time we played them, but we needed to make their goalkeeper play the ball, and we didn’t.”
Iowa earned a penalty corner early in the second quarter, but couldn’t get at shot on goal. Minutes later, Northwestern notched another penalty corner, but Iowa’s defense shut them out, leaving the game scoreless at the break.
The Hawkeyes received two penalty corners in the fourth, but couldn’t break the Wildcat defense. With the clock winding down, Northwestern’s Lauren Wadas dribbled through three Hawkeye defenders, found space and fired a shot from just inside the top of the circle past McGuire to send the Wildcats to the Final Four.
“They’re a fantastic team, they have a great coaching staff, and they’re going to do really well next weekend,” said Cellucci. “We knew it was going to be a battle today. It’s just unfortunate to come out on this side.”
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH LISA CELLUCCI
“The reality is it’s disappointing for the season we’ve had. To be outright Big Ten champions, to be ranked No. 1 for seven weeks, and to not advance to the Final Four, it’s disappointing. It’s not the result we wanted, but there is still a lot to be proud of. This team’s body of work speaks for how good of a team we are, and that’s what happens in hockey sometimes.”
- McGuire’s five saves gave her 46 this season and 86 for her career.
- Iowa used a new starting lineup for the first time this season with Ciara Smith being in the starting 11.
Iowa finishes the 2021 season with a 17-3 record and a Big Ten regular season title.