The sixth-ranked University of Iowa field hockey team continues its home slate this weekend, hosting two games at Grant Field. The Hawkeyes host Providence at 2 p.m. (CT) on Friday for Fan Appreciation Day and No. 22 Massachusetts on Sunday at 1 p.m. for Kids’ Day. Admission is free.
• Friday and Sunday’s game will be live streamed on B1G+.
• Iowa field hockey fans can follow all contests via live stats on hawkeyesports.com. Game updates are also available on Twitter/@iowafieldhockey.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
• Iowa is ranked sixth in the Penn Monto/NFHCA Coaches’ poll after winning three of its first four games to open the 2022 season. The Hawkeyes are outscoring their opposition, 15-3.
• Two Hawkeyes — Alex Wesneski and Annika Herbine — both rank in the top 10 in the Big Ten in scoring. Wesneski is tied for second with six goals, while Herbine is tied for sixth with three. Herbine is also tied for the league lead with two game-winners.
• Iowa posted back-to-back shutouts in wins over Boston and Saint Louis. The Hawkeyes allowed just six shots in the two victories.
• Iowa ranks second nationally in assists per game (4.00), fifth in shutouts per game (0.50), sixth in points per game (11.00) and eighth in goals per game (3.50) and scoring margin (2.33).
• The Hawkeyes return eight starters and 18 letterwinners from a team that finished 17-3, claimed an outright Big Ten title and advanced to the Elite Eight for the 19th time in program history in 2021.
• Head coach Lisa Cellucci is in her ninth season at the helm of the Hawkeye field hockey program and her 23rd season overall. Cellucci has been a part of 271 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. 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 returns two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Anthe Nijziel. The defender is the third player in Big Ten history to earn multiple Player of the Year honors.
• Iowa welcomes back three All-Americans (Nijziel, Grace McGuire and Esme Gibson), four NFHCA All-Region honorees (Nijziel, McGuire, Gibson, Lokke Stribos) and four All-Big Ten selections (Nijziel, McGuire, Stribos, Gibson).
• Iowa went 10-3 against nationally-ranked foes in 2021, including seven wins against top-seven ranked opponents.
CELLUCCI REACHES MILESTONE
Head coach Lisa Cellucci — the three-time reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year — earned her 100th career victory on Aug. 26 when the Hawkeyes downed No. 20 Wake Forest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The ninth year head coach is the fourth Hawkeye head coach to reach this 100-win milestone.
IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
The Hawkeyes dropped one spot to No. 6 in the Week 3 Penn Monto/NFHCA National Division I rankings. Iowa was ranked fifth in the preseason poll. The team has been ranked in 63 consecutive polls dating back to the 2016 season.
• Last season, Iowa finished the year ranked third after being ranked No. 1 for six straight weeks heading into the postseason. The team made its debut at No. 1 on Sept. 28, marking the first time in program history the team had been atop the NFHCA poll.
ALEX KEEPS SCORING
Junior Alex Wesneski posted back-to-back multi-goal games in wins over Boston and Saint Louis on Sept. 2 and Sept. 4 at Grant Field. The Pennsylvania native has a team-high six goals this season — which are a career high. Wesneski had four goals entering the 2022 season.
• The multi-goal game was the third of Wesneski’s career (vs. Maryland, spring 2021). Wesneski is the first Hawkeye since Maddy Murphy to have back-to-back multi-goal games in the spring of 2021.
• Wesneski is fifth nationally in goals per game (1.50) and ninth in points per game (3.00) through the first two weeks of the season.
The Hawkeyes’ defense was superb in a pair of shutout victories over Boston and Saint Louis. Iowa surrendered just six shots (two shots on goal) in the two wins.
• Iowa’s defense has give up five or fewer shots in 13 of the team’s last 24 games dating back to the 2021 season.
ANNI & GAME WINNERS
Sophomore Annika Herbine netted her first career game-winning goal in Iowa’s double overtime victory over No. 20 Wake Forest on Aug. 26. The Pennsylvania native followed it up with a second game winner in Iowa’s win over Saint Louis.
GRACE’S CLEAN SLATE
Senior Grace McGuire posted her first shutout of the season (and 19th career shutout) in Iowa’s 4-0 win over Boston on Sept. 2. The goalkeeper also played 30 clean minutes against Saint Louis before redshirt freshman Mia Magnota made her Hawkeye debut for the second half.
• It was a stark contrast for McGuire as she faced 22 shots (and made a career-high 11 saves) in Iowa’s 3-2 loss to No. 2 North Carolina in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
CIARA X 2
Senior Ciara Smith scored her first two goals of the season in Iowa’s 6-0 shutout win of Saint Louis on Sept. 4 at Grant Field. The Virginia native had a team-high 10 goals in 2021.
• It was Smith’s first career multi-goal game in the regular season. She scored twice last season in the NCAA Tournament win over American and two times in 2019 in the Sweet 16 win over Duke.
B1G PLAYERS TO WATCH
Three Hawkeyes — fifth-year seniors Anthe Nijziel and Lokke Stribos and senior Esme Gibson — have been named to the Big Ten Preseason Players to Watch List. It is the third straight season Nijziel and Stribos have been included on the list.
Iowa’s team captains for the 2022 season are seniors Anthe Nijziel, Leah Zellner and Esme Gibson and junior Ellie Flynn.
DEFENDING BIG TEN CHAMPS
The Hawkeyes claimed the outright Big Ten regular season title for the first time since 1999 during the 2021 season. It was the program’s second regular season title in three years and the 16th in program history.
THE B1G BEST RETURNS… AGAIN
Senior Anthe Nijziel added to her trophy collection in 2021 as the defender was named the NFHCA West Region Player of the Year, Big Ten Co-Player of the Year and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. It was her second straight year earning both Big Ten honors. She was also a NFHCA first-team All-American, and NFHCA first-team All-West Region and a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection.
• Nijziel was the third player and fourth Hawkeye to earn the NFHCA Regional Player of the Year accolade, joining Natalie Cafone (2014, 2016) and Katie Birch (2019).
• She was 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 was the second Hawkeye and eighth Big Ten student-athlete to earn multiple Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors.
A STOUT D RETURNS
The Hawkeyes return three defenders — Anthe Nijziel, Harper Dunne and Lieve Schalk — and goalkeeper Grace McGuire from a defense that led the NCAA with 11 shutouts in 2021 — the most for the program since 1993 when it had 16 shutouts.
• The unit posted a program record eight consecutive shutouts from Sept. 4-26 where it surrendered just 12 shots on goal in the eight games.
The Hawkeyes return nine different players that scored at least one goal during the 2021 season, including leading goal scorer Ciara Smith. The Virginia native had a team-high 10 goals while playing primarily as a reserve forward a season ago.
• Iowa’s offense was prolific, scoring 66 goals in 20 games to tie for fourth nationally. The Hawkeyes scored three or more goals in 12 of their 20 games.
The Hawkeyes finished the 2021 season with a 7-0 record away from Iowa City with victories at No. 5 Louisville, No. 6 Rutgers and No. 7 Maryland. The seven road wins were the most since 1999.
• Iowa has won eight consecutive road games dating back to the 2021 season.
MCGUIRE IN GOAL
Fifth-year senior Grace McGuire has started 42 consecutive games for the Hawkeyes in goal. The Missouri native has won 33 games, posted 19 shutouts and made 101 saves during her career. She has a 0.83 career goals against average.
• Last season McGuire made 46 saves in 20 games with an NCAA-best 11 shutouts. She had a program-record eight consecutive shutouts from Sept. 4-26.
• McGuire went 17-3 with a 0.75 goals against average and a 0.754 save percentage. She led the Big Ten and ranked second nationally in goals against average.
• The reigning All-American didn’t allow a goal in 561:03 minutes from the second quarter against No. 1 North Carolina on Aug. 29, 2021, to the fourth quarter of the Oct. 1 game at No. 6 Rutgers.
Four Hawkeyes — Olivia Frazier, Annika Herbine, Jacey Wittel and Mia Magnotta — earned invitations to USA Field Hockey’s 2023 U-21 and Development Squad Selection Camp. The camp will take place in December 2022 or Jan. 2023.
For a second straight year, the Hawkeyes boast a roster with 14 upperclassmen, including seven fifth-year seniors, three seniors and four juniors. Over the past four seasons, Iowa’s fifth-year seniors have won 62 games.
• Fifth-year seniors Anthe Nijziel and Lokke Stribos have started all 85 games of their Hawkeye careers. Four additional Hawkeyes — Sofie Stribos, Harper Dunne, Grace McGuire and Esme Gibson — have started 40 or more consecutive games.
Anthe Nijziel – 85
Lokke Stribos – 85
Sofie Stribos – 44
Harper Dunne – 42
Grace McGuire – 42
Esme Gibson – 41 (58 career starts; did not start one game in 2020)
Leive Schalk – 24
A STORIED HISTORY
• The Hawkeyes have made 27 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 28 NCAA Tournament victories and 12 NCAA Final Fours are the most of any school as a member of the Big Ten Conference.
• Providence enters the weekend with a 1-3 overall record. The Friars picked up their first win of the season, downing Dartmouth, 3-2.
• The Friars have scored five goals in four games, while the defense has surrendered 12 goals.
• UMASS improved its record to 3-1 after posting a pair of victories last weekend. The Minutemen downed UMASS Lowell, 3-2, in a shootout before beating New Hampshire, 4-3, in overtime.
• The team’s lone defeat came in the second game of the season, falling to No. 1 Northwestern, 4-1.
• The Minutewomen are led by former Iowa great Barb Weinberg (2000-04). Weinberg was a two-time All-American, three-time All-Big Ten performer and two-year team captain as a player and she was an Iowa assistant coach in 2008.
• Iowa is 7-0 all-time against Providence with the most recent meeting taking place in 2018. The Hawkeyes have shutout the Friars five times, outscoring them, 22-2, overall.
• The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series over Massachusetts, 8-2-1, with the most recent meeting coming in 2011 — a 3-0 Iowa win.
The Hawkeyes will open Big Ten play on Sept. 16, hosting Indiana at 4 p.m. (CT) to wrap up their five-game home stand. The game will be a gold out in honor of childhood cancer.